Taking the Upland Walk today provided so much:
Children were gathering for summer camp near the entrance to the forest. The sounds of laughter followed me down the trail. What pure joy. They are carefree and happy. I notice the moss growing underfoot. It feels so soft, and I like the color. As I progress, I find art in the woods constructed of natural materials. Artists are so inventive. It’s a real pleasure to come upon art here. It is so unexpected and fun.
A cool breeze picks up, and I notice the sun breaking through some of the trees. As I approach the creek, I notice that the sun is dancing off the water and making a dappling effect on some of the trees. It looks so pretty. Raindrops from last night’s storm still glisten on leaves of some of the bushes like the hearts a’ bursting. It’s of my favorites because it is so different. Birds are calling from high in the trees. While I can’t see them, I can identify a few like the brown thrasher, chickadee, and a robin. A moth lands on my hand and stays awhile. How odd. Maybe he is tasting me. I try to examine him and remember details so I can look him up later. A dragonfly catches my attention. The color in their wings astonishes me. A lightning bug comes by. I wonder why he is flying during the day. Maybe he is enjoying the Arboretum too.
Here I come upon some ferns. They are standing straight and tall. They look like sentinels of the forest. You can always find mushrooms pushing through the leaf litter without having to look very hard. The vernal pools found here are filled with water from the storm last night. They are also filled with frogs and insects making hay while the sun shines. Oh, what a delight! I spy some ground pine (Lycopodium obscurum). They look like delicate little pine trees. They are so slow growing that it can take 20 years for them to reach full growth. We must really be very careful not to damage them in any way.
Hmmm, what is that lovely smell? The breeze is bringing me a lovely, sweet smell. It’s the milkweed! Who knew it smelled so nice? A few buzzing bugs bring me back to reality as I exit the woods. I feel so much better than when I started out this morning. So calm and refreshed. Thank you, Adkins, for being such a special, wonderful place where so much beauty can be found.
by Diana Beall
Visitor Services Assistant