Where we should be.

"It is simple. We are where we should be, doing what we should be doing. Otherwise we would be somewhere else, doing something else."

~Richard Stine

"The smell of mulch is good for my soul!" I said aloud at the moment my feet touched the soft mulched pathways.  A bit overdramatic perhaps, but a typical statement for this idealist. I had returned to my beloved Cedar Ridge Preserve after a very long time, and it was good. Very good.

From the moment I awoke today, I've felt almost an audible call from God to get outside and commune with Him in nature, to take my little girl with me to play and explore and enjoy all the gifts that are waiting outside our front door.  I've been wanting to go back to the Preserve since having had a baby but was waiting for warm enough weather.  Then, the warm weather came {80 degrees and not a cloud in the sky today!}, but none of my girlfriends were available to come with me - one had plans with family, one was working feverishly on a book proposal, another was in line at the Apple Store for a new iPad.  But God said, "Just come!"  So it was me, and Belle in the Boba carrier.

I need nature.  This is something I know very surely about myself now.

On the short 15 minute drive to Cedar Ridge, I felt myself getting excited, as if I were about to be reuinted with an old friend.  And I guess in a way I was; I couldn't wait to introduce my daughter to this place that was a refuge for me, whose trails were worn many times by my running shoes before she was in my belly.  The sign at the entrance had changed, but everything else was just as I'd remembered it. 

Here we are at the entrance - this child is so utterly happy when she is outdoors, and I couldn't be more proud. 

Let's go!

I nestled Luci Belle into the carrier on my back and set my feet to the trails.  The trees waved and creaked overhead just like always.  So many treasures awaited us, even though spring has yet to bloom in full form...

By the time we came to the clear stream that flows under the wooden suspension bridge, the little wiggly pack on my back was ready to be free.  So I carried her down to the sandy edge and dangled her inflate-a-feet in the water.  At first she jumped at the chilliness and then started bouncing up and down with glee.

Crimson berries seemed strategically placed just at the spot where you needed a bit of color, a break from forest brown.  A strip of blue sky peeked through the branches of a Bradford Pear in full bloom.

And at the end, we made a quick stop in the Butterfly Garden and actually found one alighting on the branch of a Cherry Blossom tree!

The entire time, we saw only three people: two passersby on the trails {who both grabbed my daughter's chubby ankles for a little tug}, and a volunteer gardener named Sharon who was vigorously pruning an Autumn Sage.  When we got in the car, I felt refreshed.  So refreshed.  It really is simple.  The Preserve was undoubtedly the "somewhere" we were meant to be today, enjoying nature the "something" we were meant to do.