This morning, I am relaxing on my front porch. Our dogs rest at my feet. Onyx is our large, older lazy baby. She nudges my feet every few moments and whines at me if she thinks I might have forgotten she’s there. Ace is a few feet further out, lazing in the morning sun. Both are rescue dogs – one from the shelter in Hot Springs Village and one from in Hot Springs.
To my right is a field of jonquils. Last week, as winter reminded us it was not done with Arkansas, as sleet poured down on us, my sweet yellow flowers rose and braced themselves against the onslaught. They endured. And today, the sleet is gone but my favorite flowers stand proudly, waving at me and reminding me that Spring really is just right around the corner. No bright rays of flower sunshine at your house? Garvan Gardens is flourishing with the daffodils this week, and I’m sure Camden remains a mecca for them as well.
Overhead is a periwinkle blue sky. Not a cloud anywhere. Birds occasionally soar past, and I stop typing and watch their effortless flight. The air this morning is brisk, but it’s refreshing. Out here in the country, there are no smells of industry or the sounds of a frantic peace. It is simply peaceful. It is nature. For me, it is a reminder of my God and His infinite power and wisdom. The peace I feel right now, I wish it for you, too. I wish it for me as I move throughout the day.
There is something that happens to us all when we spend time outdoors. We breathe more deeply. We love more fully. We are in the elements and, often, we are in our element.
Spend a few moments outside. Do it today. Do it tomorrow. If you’re up to it, explore the trails near your home. Arkansas – which is The Natural State after all – is renowned for its trails. We have trail systems so long (223 miles extending into Oklahoma!) that there are three-sided cabins along the way for overnight hikes (though I will warn novices that it can be a tad unnerving to hear deer blowing at you in the middle of the night!) There are short day trails, great for families. There are small waterfalls. There are large waterfalls. There is a trail for you!
To find nearby trails, Google is your friend, as is the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and its visitor centers. And, of course, there are the guidebooks by Tim Ernst. If you don’t have at least one of his books, you are missing out! They are available throughout the state, and of course All Things Arkansas carries them. These books tell you how to get to the hiking trails, how to travel the trails, what you can expect to experience on the trails, and what you can expect to see on the trails. They include maps and photos and information you need to know that you did not know you needed to know! One customer told me she had the book with her on a trail, got lost, and used information in the book to call Mr. Ernst for help. Truly, these are the guides for everyone wanting to spend time in the great outdoors.
Whether you get a guidebook or even get on a trail, it's time to go outside!! Throw off the covers of winter and embrace Spring.