On the Arboretum Trail
MY LIFE IS DEFINED BY RIGHT ANGLES AND BOUNDARIES. I wake up in a squared-off bed in a box-like room inside a house with flat walls. I drive down streets in grids with curbs defining the edge of my reach. I work in a square office with a rectangular window (thank goodness for that window!), and stare at a flat screen all day long. I bet many of you have lives like this too.
Getting outside on a trail is like medicine. It’s not a luxury; it’s a requirement. My mind craves the sinuosity, lack of boundaries and wildness. It needs fuzzy edges, spontaneous shapes, shadows, colors and light to relax and find its creativity.
One place I find solace almost daily is the Arboretum Trail at the Wildflower Center. Sure, it has concrete borders and light posts that define its edges – giving it a kind of a “wild-lite” feeling – but it has all the other elements of a wild trail that promote calmness, discovery and inspiration. It’s sinuous. It’s spontaneous (keep an eye out for roadrunners, Bewick’s wrens, coachwhip snakes and any one of thousands upon thousands of native wildflowers and grasses blooming among the trees). It’s bounded by grasses and trees that wave in the breeze. It’s visited by sunlight that shifts and changes throughout the day and with the seasons. It’s gravel bed crunches beneath my shoes.
You can find trails all over the place – tucked behind Walmarts, slithering through vacant lots, charging up mountains in National Parks or shifting through dunes at the seashore. In fact, perhaps “trails” are really just a state of mind; they are places where the right angles of life are left behind and where the mind is left to wander.
Learn more about the Texas Arboretum Trail.