Labour Day: the transition between summer and school…a bittersweet day by all accounts. Today in Sudbury it’s a scorcher. You can almost smell the asphalt melting. Fortunately I logged five kilometers of trails this morning before the sun was high in the sky. Rory Bear, Ace and RJ were along for the trek. I wandered into the woods rather than stay on the manicured path, and it was wonderful. Rustling leaves, sun dappling through the trees, and lots more to sense and see.
Lake Laurentian Conservation Authority has an extensive trail system surrounding the university. Some paths are gravel; others are dedicated to cross country skiing; still more wander through the woods up close and personal with the trees. Sudbury is part of the Canadian Shield so rock is abundant, and it is in the Great Lakes Basin so has over 330 lakes in the municipality alone, not to mention in the surrounding communities. Scrambling over the rocks, making sure you have a toehold when you are climbing, and paying attention to the sounds of animals around you are all part of the wonder of hiking.
You can hike, bike, ski, snowshoe, or run the trails. They are one way and comprise about 20 kilometers in total. There are beaver dams and duck ponds, chickadees and perch. All manner of nature abounds. The Conservation Authority does a nice job of maintaining the paths, and they are rugged but manageable. There are various high points along the way where you have various vistas of the city. You can see for miles from various high rocks in the system.
Modern life is fast-paced and technology abounds. It is rare to be without the sound of technology – engines turning over, typing on a keyboard, whirring of the washing machine, and the dinging of bells. We drove to Sault Ste. Marie yesterday to see our boys play hockey, and along the way we encountered six Amish buggies with people inside who don’t embrace anything modern. That level of rejection is foreign to me, but I do seek a balance between no technology and technology everywhere. One place to find that balance is the woods. It is quiet but for the sounds of animals moving around; it is shaded; there is natural beauty everywhere; it is empty of people for the most part; and it permits time to ponder, to reflect, to enjoy your own thoughts at your own pace. That time is essential for me. I love company, but sometimes being alone is needed.
My wander through the wilderness today set the table for a day of serenity and calm. I imbibed the mood (and some of the mud) of the forest. It is a perfect frame of mind for feeling grateful for a wonderful summer and at the same time turning my mind to the pending start of the school year. It is a continual struggle to juggle health and fitness, work responsibilities, and relationships…a task which I find far easier to achieve in the summer when the days are long and the weather is inviting. It was a wonderful wilderness wander.