Meet Faith Switzer


Nature October 14, 2020

At the river, I see shade trees, lots of them, and they provide a canopy of shade. There are also patches of sun that create little flickers and slants across the ground. The air smells of freshness and in the distance, you can hear the occasional car. As we walk, under our feet, there's a variety of things including hard-packed dirt, loose coarse dirt, soft sand, leaves, and underbrush that crackles under my feet. The mood is calming, relaxing, soothing, and peaceful.

When we reach the river, we wind through some trails that sport some bushes and shrubs, which have overgrown branches that smack against my face very softly. At first, the dirt is hard-packed, like before, but it quickly changes to the loose sand, only now, it is much deeper. Eventually, we reach uneven, rocky ground, on which you can hear the water of the river, lapping against the bank. A few boys get into the water to move some stones and boulders around. There is talk of building a bridge, and lots of other children are working on a fall scavenger hunt.

After our group crosses the uneven ground, we come to a trail, thickly crowded on all sides with shrubs, bushes, and trees, but wide. I am told it is beautiful and the air smells phenomenal, with the smell of sage, fresh pine, and clean air. It is thick and delicious. I stop to journal periodically. The trail is steep at first, but then, levels out.

Then, it's back down the trail, so far, my favorite part of the walk, and back across the uneven terrain. Now some of the girls get in the water to wade. The adults, all women, gather and chat, while children run everywhere, in the river, in the underbrush, and on the trail. Mother's go with their children to see paw prints, plants, and colors. We hear a dump truck and more cars.

We move to a new section of the river that is much the same as the area before, only the brush is closer to the river. The smells slightly different, like adding water to the mix. Then, we go back on that splendid trail. We hike further than last time and as we go, the trail gets even more interesting. After a while, the trail opens up into a clearing where we find a spot and sit down to journal. I choose a nice piece of firewood and sit on the ground.

Everyone gets very quiet to pay attention to nature around us. The clearing has trees all around and they make shade and sun patches along the ground. I hear the wind blowing, birds chirping, bees buzzing, cars going, ducks quacking, and children quietly writing with their pencils. As I sit here on this log, I take deep, slow lung fulls of the clean potent air that smells of so many different things, it would be almost impossible to describe. Now, there is sirens in the background on the road. Though they are in the background, they are much more pronounced than the cars were.

After one minute, everyone is instructed to begin drawing and coloring and the mothers begin to quietly talk amongst themselves. As time ticks by, I can tell the sirens that I earlier heard belong to a fire truck and I hope that whoever is in that fire makes it out safely. The sound of cars returns, along with the rustle of leaves on the trees in the light breeze that gently blows. Another bee buzzes past and dogs from a far off house begin barking. I am brought back to peace and tranquility.

As I wait for everyone to finish their drawings, I feel around on the ground beside my log. I find a few leaves, no surprise, for fall is coming to a close with holidays fast approaching. They are smooth and dry. They have stems and unique shapes, almost like a heart, except the top isn't as pronounced as a heart's. There are also twigs, brush, sap, and wood scraps that crackle as mother's and teachers walk over it to help students and children to finish their journals.

After I journaled with the group, we made our way back to our car. I loved the river and trail and would love to go back sometime. I also love nature journaling and will do this more often. Today gave me peace and healing that I needed. I enjoyed my nature walk today.