There were no cell phones in the fifties, so when we were not in school, or watching Happy Days, we spent all our time outdoors. I seem to remember my mom calling for us to come in at dusk; but, according to my sister, who was right there with me: We came in on our own terms when it was too dark to see!
As the years went by and we grew up, my sister moved to Colorado, and I moved away from Ohio, landing in Michigan, North Carolina, and Virginia. But I never lost my love of movement and play that we had as children, or the land that we called home.
By 1999, I had become a regular walker, and was living in Charlottesville, Virginia on a busy street. I trekked through my neighborhood for three years till a friend in the neighborhood asked if I wanted to try out the Trail.
I can remember being barely able to make it to the first bridge; I was weak from a health odyssey and did not have much stamina. But I kept going back daily and slowly I began to re-gain my strength. There came a time, after a few months, when I could finally walk the winding bridges without feeling dizzy.
The happiest people I know are those who are following the same likes they had when they were children.
I think I can prove him right. Out on the Trail, I often feel the same sense of joy I felt running through the evergreen forest or skating on my childhood pond. And I can frequently be caught in FASHION BOS attire, and in the same kind of skirts I wore on ice. You are the fanciest dresser out here, people often say to me. I have never felt the need to put on sweats to enter a forest. On the contrary, I feel I must arrive in suitable attire to honor the one-hundred-year-old trees.
In 2005, my father gave me a camera for Christmas, which ended up sitting in the cardboard box for over a year! (See story here.) With his prompting, I finally got it out and took some pictures. The first image I shot was of a wooden bench on the Trail. When l realized that my little point-and-shoot had a big heart and a good-enough lens, I was on a mission to record what I saw and returned almost daily.