First off. I’m back!! It’s been too long. Second, this blog post has a disclaimer: Always remember, I live in the land of no secrets so this may be a heavy post. But! It’s also a happy post!
Lately, I’ve been trying to get healthier, like most people. I’ve been doing WW with good results but I’ve yet to find an activity I TRULY love and don’t feel like it’s draining my life away while doing it. I did get the Echelon Connect Bike, which I enjoy, but it’s an inside workout and I’ve found I prefer to be outside.
I’ve known for a long time I really enjoy being out with nature. Any time I’ve been on a trail doing light (emphasis on light, I’m not climbing any crazy mountains ha!) hiking, I’m at peace. You might ask, “What do you mean by ‘at peace’, Dusti?” I’ll tell you what it means for me. For me, it means, not thinking about anything else but what I’m doing right then and being content in that. It’s my meditation. Some people can do this while being at home and taking a few minutes to be mindful. I have been unable to do that. My mind wanders quickly to other things. Some people can do this while doing other exercises. I’ve found, with other activities, I just watch the time and can’t wait for it to be over. For me, that’s even just walking in my neighborhood. I’ll do it, but the scenery is not enjoyable to me; it’s monotonous and there are too many distractions.
Here’s the heavy part. Many of you may be nodding your head and agreeing that you love being on trails and such. I do feel it’s innate in us to have a pull to be outside in nature and it’s unfortunate in today’s world it’s not a normal part of our everyday life. But, while I was taking a light stroll this past week, it hit me…the reason it’s important to me.
If you’ve read any of my past posts or know much about me, you know I had a chaotic childhood. Arguably, the most chaotic time was when I was between the ages of 5 to 7. During that time, my mom was in the throws of addiction to methamphetamine with her boyfriend. Maybe the worst it had ever gotten. We moved from a small town to a smaller town and out in the country where we were pretty isolated. And, by isolated, I mean, people still semi-joke that you shouldn’t go to this area at night because not the best people live around there. It was so isolated, that in the late 1980s/early 1990s, we didn’t even have running water and we had about 8 fighting pit bulls surrounding the parameter of the chunk of land we lived on in a rundown mobile home. So, you can imagine the environment. I won’t go into the details. Just know, it was bad. But, what’s the saying, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” (Thanks Charles Dickens)
It may have been bad and I could have easily been taken into DHS custody but I have some of the BEST memories from the short time we lived out there. It was like I was a kid thrown back into another time. I roamed the woods every day after school and every weekend with my dog (yes, a pit bull, Spiker). I didn’t have much adult supervision so I’d be out there for hours just me, my dog (thank goodness. I can’t imagine the snakes and such he shielded me from!), and the woods. I’d be out there from morning to night. It was my peace when I had no peace otherwise. It was my safe haven. It was my constant from the chaos.
So! This past week I decided I need to get back to that. I asked my Facebook friends where they enjoy going around our area. Areas which don’t feel like we are in a city. I received some great feedback of areas nearby and others within a couple hours of Tulsa, OK. This past week I checked out Ray Harral Nature Center in Broken Arrow, OK. Our dog, Molly, and I enjoyed it.
It has some short trails that are paved so we made a couple loops. There’s a neat learning center and birthday parties can even be held there! I plan to try out some of the other places people mentioned and even take the kiddo. I think he’d really enjoy it.
Here’s some links to other places with light/moderate trails nearby if you are interested:
Lynn Lane Reservoir
Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area
River Parks Trails
Oxley Nature Center
Osage Prairie Trail