January 5, 2015

a walk in the woods

     In a leaf littered forest somewhere in mid-Missouri, a caravan of hikers are making their way along a narrow path. They are a colorful group -- blue and green coats, a collection of bags and cameras, one occupied baby carrier, and a couple of large dogs.
    Suddenly, Indian war whoops pierce the silence. Two teenagers are chasing each other with young children riding piggy back (clinging on for dear life.) "I'm going to get you!" one of them shouts, immediately followed by bursts of laughter. They run doggedly up the hill, stopping only when they reach the edge of a sharp drop-off. The remainder of the group catches up and together they stand -- admiring the bony whiteness of the sycamores against the craggy rocks; taking in the wintery scene of brown and grey.
     On their descent, the hikers stop by a creek bed covered in ice. There is only one logical thing to do, and that is to try and crack the ice as much as possible by throwing rocks. It doesn't take long for them to create a game of it: a modified version of shuffleboard. Lots of giggling and joking around is involved as well as numerous Monty Python quotes scattered throughout the conversation.

     Finally, it's time to head home. Everyone has sniffling noses and bright red cheeks, but the sharp winter wind is exhilarating and pushes them back along the trail. Each traveler goes his separate way after many well-wishes and goodbyes, unsure of when they will see each other again and what adventures will arise in the future. But a new year has commenced -- a time of renewing goals and beginning again, starting with a walk in the woods.

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