The other day I decided to step on the well-manicured Prairie Farmer Trail at an entry point in Calmar to enjoy the natural beauty of a clear July day in Northeast Iowa. As I made my way on the paved trail, I was reminded of the words of Henry David Thoreau, "Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence." Indeed, there is a reverence for the vastness of Mother Nature that overcomes me each time I'm outdoors in a little corner of the world that still knows the meaning of silence, that is relatively free of the buzz from another text, that knows that all the noise in the world doesn't compare to the wisdom we can each find within ourselves. And on this day, the Prairie Farmer served as my conduit to that sacred space that knows the value of walking a spell in the wilderness to clear the mind and reinvigorate the senses.
In the hustle of the every day, I can so easily lose touch with the melodious song of an Orange-Tinged Oriole and the glad tidings of a Blue Bird or the playful chatter of two baby squirrels engaged in a game of tag. I can neglect to look up at the bright sun streaming through the tall, majestic trees as it lights my path and warms my face. I can fail to take into account how my sense of true wonder returns when I see two fawns with their mama tentatively wondering if it's safe to cross my path. I try to gently encourage them that it is. And as I walk on, I remember how intertwined my life is with the life of the various animals that surround, with the life of the vibrant vegetation, with the pulse of the life of the planet Earth itself. Slowly, a bone-deep gratitude washes over me for the gift of truly being present to the wonders of Prairie Farmer that provide inspiration I can take back into my day-to-day life.
Certainly, if you wish to challenge yourself beyond your current limits, Prairie Farmer does offer a place to push your body in such a way as to break the barrier of such perceived limits. But if you wish to simply lose the chatter of the to-do list that can intrude into the minor breaks in your everyday routine, then step on the trail and let the sight of a baby fawn resting against a seemingly indestructible oak remind you to make time again in your life for a little thing called awe. I think you’ll be more than glad that you did.