Sunday, June 29, 2008

View from the Marsh

I’ve been walking more than running these days, but even this has been sporadic. So, in an effort to get myself into the groove again, on Thursday night, I walked with Ann Duffy’s Nordic Walking group out on the Hillsborough marsh. We left from the Tourist info building at 6:30 pm. (Check the link to the Albert County Events calendar on the sidebar for other nordic walking nights). Some walked in twos and talked, others walked in solitude, but each at their own pace.

We stopped at the midway point, by the river lookout beside the old gypsum silos, to wait for everyone to catch up and I was able to appreciate the views back toward the village. The tranquility of this space always reaches out to me and I feel so fortunate to live in an area where scenes of such understated beauty are commonplace. Ann and her group motivated me with their enthusiasm and inspired me to get with the routine.

The next morning, my dog and I were out on the marsh again. For a solid, glorious hour she romped and I strode along the river dyke as the tide flowed in from the bay. Long grasses bent in the same breezes that kept us cool in the morning heat, bringing the smells of fresh-turned earth and the myriad of wildflowers that grow so prolifically here.

In the quietude of marsh life, cobalt blue dragonflies and tiny periwinkle butterflies crossed paths in mid-air. I spotted a deer, grazing and nibbling at fresh shoots. A bald eagle soared. A farmer plowed a field between long lines of raspberry canes; another walked through hip-high grass with a border collie, searching for something.

Suddenly, there along the dyke, miles from any homestead, I spotted a single, mature honeysuckle bush, fragrant with blooms. I had to wonder how it came to rest there. Had someone dug it from an unruly garden and discarded it many years ago? Or had it steadily grown from a seed or sprout? Somehow, it found a place to root, to grow and to bloom in glorious colour, so solitary walkers, like me, could find joy in the surprise of its presence.

Looking back towards Hillsborough, it was easy to imagine the ebb and flow of life here for the past 300 years. I couldn’t help but consider how our transplanted ancestors found roots here in this wild space. Somehow, from nothing, they built solid, colourful lives for themselves and all those who could come after.

Tall white church steeples punctuated the sky along a main road lined with historic homes, many owned by generations of family. I thought about how they built the community; about the sweat that went into creating and maintaining these dykes and wondered how many others had walked this route through the centuries and appreciated this view.

When you take a chance, make a new beginning, plant a new seed, add a new routine, act on a new idea, you really have no idea how far down the road, it will bloom into something much bigger than you ever dreamed.

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