Leaves and Shadows
Leaves and their shadows fluttering in a breeze highlight my favorite trail moments. Add a wooden footbridge and I fall into my own little hiker nirvana.
I don’t know why the leaf-and-shadow light-and-motion combination brings a visceral wave of emotion. I’ve logged most of my hiking miles in California as an adult, but I wonder if the deeply entrenched memories created in childhood are part of why I feel this inexplicable “high” with flickering leaf shadows.
Leaves were part of the seasonal lore of my Upstate New York childhood. Seasons evolved as much by leaf status as they did by temperature and whether we had sun, rain or snow. Bright, neon green leaves meant spring was upon us. Full, deeper greens meant summer was in full swing. Just as we felt the summer warmth, the leaves would start turning, in a mixture of browns, yellows, oranges and reds, eventually dropping to leave bare branches.
Having sun to make shadows and a bit of a breeze to move the leaves was enough to entrance me when I was little. There were no wooden footbridges in the fields and forests around my house, though. (We waded through creeks, or walked over them when they were frozen enough.) Now I hike trails where there are many small bridges, so I get a double whammy of leaf-shadow-induced nostalgia combined with the mysterious charm of a wooden footbridge looming ahead in a forest.
Sensory observations that switch our brains to positive vibe mode are treasures. Allowing small details around us to temporarily occupy our psyche muffles the busy noise in our brains, helping clear stubborn negative thoughts.
I wish everyone several moments each day of sensory positivity, whether outdoors in nature or in some other environment that brings you a happy welling of the heart. Keep putting one foot forward!
This week’s Hike Notes, Matt Davis Trail-West Point Inn to Bootjack, takes readers on the return section of a loop hike between Bootjack Campground and West Point Inn on Mt. Tam (covered in three separate posts: Old Stage Road to West Point Inn, Nora Trail-West Point Inn Connector, and Matt Davis Trail-West Point Inn to Bootjack).
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Hike Notes 194: Matt Davis Trail-West Point Inn to Bootjack
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.