Folk Tale Meanderings
Work projects, house projects, special needs son projects—these swirl in my head morning, noon and night. There’s little space to let my mind wander. Most people are dealing with a constant whirlwind of in-your-face issues, leaving little room for free roaming thoughts.
When literally roaming along a trail, though, where a computer screen cannot claim my attention, brain space loosens up. My autistic son—busy at home rearranging every object in the house, typing a thousand miles a second to do YouTube and Google Map searches—also acts more focused and relaxed when we’re out walking in nature.
Every outing destination has its own ambience, stirring memories and feelings from different times and places, even from old childhood stories.
Having lived several years and married in Japan, I had time to absorb some classic Japanese folk tales. Every time I see rain fall while the sun is shining, the words “Kitsune no Yomeiri!” pop out of my mouth. “The Foxes’ Wedding” is a story with a highlight scene of rain falling during sunshine, and I cannot separate the actual phenomenon from the story.
Countless times I’ve said to a trail companion, “This makes me think of Hansel and Gretel,” when an ominous yet enticing trail starts to darken and wind more narrowly. On a recent hike, vines and branches smothering an old shed, dashes of colored flowers highlighting the tangled plants, reminded me of the old woman in the Gingerbread House, luring unsuspecting children. We had a laugh and moved on to brighter stretches of trail.
I don’t know where my autistic son’s mind wanders when we’re out walking. Maybe he just lets his mind go blank and tunes out the static and noise that seem to trigger him at home. I wish he could tell me, but for now he’s not able. The fact that he is more focused and calm is clear, though.
May everyone enjoy allowing their minds to relax and wander by spending time meandering outdoors. It’s a wonderful gift from nature, and all it costs is a bit of time and energy to walk!
This week’s Hike Notes, Burleigh Murray Ranch Trail, features historic old ranch structures, including not only a unique barn, but its own vine-covered outbuilding, adding spooky charm to a lovely walk in Half Moon Bay.
The long list of Hikes can be found on the Quick View Hike List and on the main Hikes page. All past Insights posts can also be viewed in the Insights/Hike Update News archives.
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New this week:
Hike Notes 128: Burleigh Murray Ranch Trail
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.