17 Apr 2013
Our favourite nature walks
If you walk to the end of our driveway, turn right and keep walking you reach horse country. The practise trotting track is there, along with breeding stables and paddocks of resting horses. If you turn right you soon reach cropping land - acres and acres of some of the finest wheat, barley, oats, sunflower, canola, and peas our country can produce, as far as the eye can see.
If you turn right out of the driveway you head toward the main street of town. Continue on over that and past the miniature horses, and you reach the local wetlands reserve. Turn left down main street and then first right, and you find the Avoca River walk. These four walks, along with one out at our local lakes and another around the recreation reserve make up our six most regular nature walks. They're the ones where we know every bend. The trees here are our friends. We observe the changes of the seasons, the growth of new plants, the habits of the birds.
I always find it amusing that the road that runs along our favourite of these, the riverside walk is called Baden Powell Drive. Charlotte Mason and the founder of the scout movement, Robert Baden Powell were friends, and I think she would smile with pleasure at the irony. It is hard to believe now that this lazy little stream is the same one that in full roar flooded our small community only two short years ago and changed our lives for ever. When you look at it meandering along in the autumnal sunshine it doesn't seem possible.
We try to have a picnic on the banks of our favourite river once every couple of weeks. We pack a picnic basket with sandwiches and drinks, pick up a yummy snack from the bakery we pass on the way and set off. Mostly the dog comes too.
We don't have a favourite picnic spot. Sometimes we like one sheltered among the trees. At other times we laze in the sunshine. We just find somewhere nice, spread the picnic rug and relax.
Well, I do. Most of the time, this is my view.
Jemimah and Flossie, on the other hand are rarely still. Which is how it should be. Today they discovered lots of discarded cicada exoskeletons and scribbly gum moth scribbles. Ahem. Sometimes I am so descriptive. We had a bit of a chat about both of these, which roused me from my slumber somewhat. Don't worry, though, I soon managed to drop back to sleep.
Finding some regular walks is my secret to getting our regularly in nature. Having a dog to walk helps too. Most fine afternoons we just pick a destination and off we go. We may not spend the CM-recommended five or six hours out of doors, but most good days we do spend a hour. On days like today when we pack a picnic, we spend an afternoon. Some Saturdays we spend a whole day.
I think that when she is grown, my daughter will count these lazy days on the river bank as some of the happiest of her childhood. They are the best panacea for a bad mood that I know. It is remarkable how much better we feel afterwards.
Sometimes I think we should broaden our horizons and find somewhere more interesting to visit. Within half an hour of home are lots of terrific spots to explore. But then I get a grip. I know that if I had to get into the car and drive somewhere, I would always find some excuse for not going - too busy, might be needed at work, need to do the ironing. By sticking to these local walks, I know that I can hurry home as soon as I'm needed. I am still in telephone range. I can even pop into the butcher on the way home. Incorporating these nature walks has been the secret for me, and while these walks are familiar, we still come up with something new to see; something new to learn. On top of that we're spending time in the outdoors and getting some exercise at the same time. It's a win-win really, isn't it?
Despite the fact that it makes for monotonous blog posts. Hmmmm.
Do you have favourite nature walks around your home? Do tell me about them!