Ancient Beauty

Everyone has that one "special" place to them, and more than likely, no matter who you are, it is probably in nature, for nature has a way of soothing and calming, of bringing joy into your life when all you want to do is wallow in your sadness. It does not matter if other people know of you place, or only you know of its whereabouts. It is a place where you go when all you need to do is to get away, to just think, to forget, to feel at peace, to feel happy again.

The crunching of the worn gravel beneath my feet as I slump my way to the trestles rings loud in my tired ears. Amid the quietness of the surrounding woods, the crunching is a deafening and shrill noise. I bundle myself more tightly in my clothing to keep warm, for it is still quite early in the morning and the air is cool against my face. I slowly yet deliberately make myself to the worn and collapsing bridge that will guide my way to the battered and vine teeming path that leads to the ancient railroad trestles that tower over my front yard. I slowed my pace as I crossed that old bridge and let myself soak in the beautiful world that was just right outside my house. The trees are old, mangled, broken; yet somehow still retain their beauty as they reach their hands out to me in a welcoming and loving gesture. The fallen leaves flutter about in their own peaceful ballet, dancing among the troupes of flowers dressed in their most magnificent apparel. The broken limbs that lay strewn about do not mean to obstruct my path and keep me from reaching my destination, but to slow down my hurried pace to truly observe the brilliance of nature and to stand in awe of it as I stumble my way through. The wind whispers in my ears, carrying the sounds of the birds singing their joyful songs amidst the dancing trees; it swirls my hair about to tickle my face, enticing a quiet laugh from my otherwise somber face.

As I push drooping branches out of my way, and make my way through the last expanse of the sea of flowers and weeds, I finally arrive at my destination: the trestles, blackened and cracking, bleeding its black goo, rusted nails crudely jabbing out from odd angles. I inhale the brisk air and maneuver my way towards the trestles. Leaning against a tree that drapes over the semi-ancient beauty, I allow myself to slide down it, precariously dangling my legs over one of the wooden beams. I take in my peaceful surrounding and allow my heavy eyes to slide shut, a content sigh escaping my awfully bitten and chapped lips. The air around me is thick with tranquility that you cannot help but to be overcome by, like a waterfall rushing down on your heavy shoulders and pouring over you, heart, mind and soul. In the distance, the sound of cars humming by on the highway is the only thing grounding me to the reality that is just beyond my sanctuary.

Pushing myself idly from the ground, I carefully take a step onto the trestles and receive a jolt of thrill at the creak I receive in response to the strain. I take another hesitant step, assuring that it is safe and that it will not collapse beneath my feet, sending me plummeting to my demise on the gravel below. Growing more and more confident with each step, I feel the wind rushing beneath me and I cannot help the grin paints itself onto my face. The peace I felt only mere seconds ago is slowly being changed into joyfulness, a pure and untainted joy. Carefully, yet confidently, I make my way to the opposite side of the railroad, feeling a newfound delight and pride in myself for accomplishing such an intimidating task, of overcoming an old fear. I gently touch the leaves of the trees, feeling the smooth texture of some and the coarse, crinkly of others, overwhelmed with an appreciation of being alive and breathing; of standing here today to witness the beauty of life and all that it has to offer; of being in good physical shape to be able to completely enjoy life to its fullest. I let the leaves caress my cheeks as I stroll on by, listening to the bugs buzz around me, before I turn myself back around to the trestles, once again in a calm state. I gradually make my way back across the trestles, halting at a platform that extends off the side about a fourth of the way out, making my way on to it and plopping down gently. From where I sit, I see the rolling mountains, and though the highway obstructs some of the view, it does not diminish the splendor the mountains hold, the fog softly rolling around them in the distance. Swinging my feet back and forth carelessly, I allow a smile on to my face despite the chill that is working its way through me. I shiver and reluctantly lift myself from the platform, grimacing at the aches in my body and the black goo that clung to my legs from sitting on the bleeding trestles.

As I wander my way back to the side from which I first came, I cannot help but to have a slight spring in my step as I come to appreciate that I feel so much better than when I had first arrived at the foot of the hill and embarked on the short journey the trestles; the whole place, MY place, always seems to put me in such an uplifted mood when I really need it most.

As I stated in the beginning, whether you realize it or not, we all have our "special" places we go to when we need an emotional healing when nothing else will do. And a lot of the times, despite if we are nature people or not, our place is in nature. Nature heals all downtrodden wounds and gives you a fresh breath of life, a new appreciation for the life you have.