When I was a child I often played in the woods. Yes, there were bears, lynx, moose, and other wildlife. There were also birds galore and the happy chance of coming upon a small glade or some other magical place where the sunlight danced upon the flora and fauna and filled me with delight. I loved the woods then and I love them now.  In all the years of growing up in Newfoundland I never once encountered a wild animal.

Nearly three years ago I moved. I have been cautioned never to walk alone in the woods here. In all this time my longing to walk the trails that surround and crisscross the city has never waned. I live in Fort McMurray, Alberta and since the wildfire we have had a higher incidence of bears coming into town. But my desire to walk among the trees held sway and last evening I took a short walk on the Birch Wood Trail across from our new home. It was rejuvenating, exhilarating, and balm for my soul. To add sweetness to the journey I was gratified to see four white tailed deer.

Yes, we have to use common sense and be aware of our surroundings in the woods. But isn’t that true of wherever we go in life? I am looking forward to future nature walks for without it my soul would shrivel up. The woods are a sacred place to me and I enjoy my time among their greenery and sturdy trunks.  The fear of others will not keep me from these walks, for it is sustenance for my very being and I return to the outside world all the better for my strolls.

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