For me, nature has always been my temple; the place I turn to, to quiet my mind and centre my self. When I am having a bad day, or feeling a little off-centre, a walk in a wild place can stop the busy chatter in my head, slow my heart rate, take me down me into my body, and lift my spirits.
For the last few years, my favourite wild place has been the Spencer Creek Trail; a small trail that runs from the Canadian Tire to the McMaster University parking lot. The trail runs beside the creek, through a marsh that is bounded by the escarpment on the north side and a busy roadway on the south side. The creek flows into the Hamilton Harbour which has been home to two steel plants for the last 6 to 7 decades. Despite all of those human encroachments, this little trail is full of wild life.
When I walked there tonight: there were Kingfishers flying along the creek; Yellow Warblers and Song Sparrows were calling from the bushes; and a Robin was feeding on the trail. A male Deer with antlers coated in fuzz was feeding in the marshland. I caught sight of a Raccoon climbing a fallen tree. And I spotted a Beaver chewing on a branch in the creek and then followed it as it swam downstream in the tea-brown water.
Where this trail was grey and brown and barren just two months ago, tonight it was bursting with fresh green foilage. The trees, bushes and vines are full of leaves; the marsh is full of grasses and reeds; the trail is lined with wild flowers. The breeze carried the fragrance of sweet grass and wild flowers. I felt every cell in my body waking; all my senses coming to life. I moved along the path feeling alert and alive; smiling and joyful. This little patch of wilderness in the midst of a big, industrial town. What a gift for the soul.