Into the Woods

Posted by: , July 14, 2009 in 9:51 am

Last week I woke up to find myself privy to a positively beautiful day.? You know the kind?? The temperature was perfect, the sun was shining and all was right with the world.? I had the sudden urge to get outside–not outside in the backyard, but full-on Green Hour!? I was ready to get my nature on…So, I consulted the website of our local nature park.? When I say nature park, think:? crappy, unimaginative, modern playground surrounded by three or four playing fields.? The thing is, there is a nature trail.? Where?? Who the hell knew.? So, I consulted the website and got the phone number for the local parks and recreation department.? I called the number and a woman named Fern or Millie or Betty answered.? “Hello, Parks and Recreation,” she chirped (when I say chirped, think:? another cup of coffee and it would have been a chirp, but at that point it was more like she had just plopped into her chair and had not yet taken that first sip.? So, I say to Fern or Millie or Betty, “I’m wondering if you can tell me exactly where the _____ Park Nature Trail begins?”? “Oh,” she moaned, “Let me put you into Steve or Jim or maybe Bill’s voicemail.? He’ll be able to answer that question.”? WHAT?? What the hell kind of Parks and Recreation secretary is this?? Hello?? It’s the only freakin’ nature park in the town–with only one nature trail.? So, when SteveJimBill’s voicemail answers, I say (in my perturbed voice), “Hello.? I was transferred to your voice mail so that you can let me know where exactly the ____ Park Nature Trail begins.? I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t intend to wait around for you call…blah, blah, blah.”? Well, needless to say, SteveJimBill didn’t return my call.


Benjamin and I set out (with our picnic lunch) to find that nature trail on our own.? Turns out…there is a blatant sign at the entrance to the park.? So, after enjoying a delicious peanut butter and jelly lunch we headed off down the trail.? I was really stoked.? I grabbed a map on the way in and was delighted to discover it listed every tree, shrub, flower and plant growing in the woods.? We began to leisurely stroll along the fern-lined trail, stopping to ponder each little mound of moss.? We spotted fairy mushrooms and other such delights.? We found a babbling brook and stopped to explore.? Oh!? The joys.? As we began to climb a slight incline, using the roots of trees as our staircase, I looked up at the canopy of dabbled sunlight and thought This is positively beautiful.? I can’t wait to discover more! Just that quickly…we stepped out of the woods into harsh sunlight.

Onto a soccer field.

I was so pissed you would have thought I had paid admission.? A soccer field?? Are they kidding?? Before us lay 100 yards of bright green grass.? With a couple of random trees planted on its perimeter.? What kind of Nature Trail plops you out onto a soccer field?? So, I tried to hide my disgust.? I cheerfully turned to Ben and chirped, “We’ll just turn around and retrace our steps.”? When I say chirped, think:? through clenched teeth.? So, we turned around and headed back into the woods.? As we revisited some of the spots we’d explored already, we did discover a few new things–a couple of daddy long legs, some snaily things, and mosqitoes.

Hundreds and hundreds of mosquitoes.? I spent the remaining ten minutes of our hike smacking myself and grumbling about West Nile Virus.? As we emerged from the no longer idyllic canopy Benjamin assured me that he had had fun.? So, as I was walking to our minivan I had to smile because he had no idea how disappointing that Nature Trail had turned out to be–perhaps when your legs are only a foot and a half long, you don’t require much from a hike.

Did I mention the deer ticks?? Yea…found them later.? So, if you don’t hear from me for a while check the CDC’s records concerning West Nile or Lyme’s Disease.? Don’t bother calling FernMillieBetty, she’ll just put you into some unsuspecting guy’s voicemail.


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