The path is uneven and often tread. The light, flickering between the leaves, offers a touch of warmth. The sound of laughter tickles your ears as you walk further into the wood. Up a winding path to the top of a small hill you find the bear cave. It’s small; truly more a nest of large stones then a cave, but the giggling of little ones and the roar from an adult makes it all the more interesting. As you continue on over tiny brooks, and meandering streams you become swept up in the sounds of rustling leaves, bird song, and the murmuring of voices.
Sound like a far away land? Not so. This is my experience when walking through O’Dell Park in Fredericton, NB. It’s fairly close to my home and an often visited oasis in the midst of the city. Only a short few blocks from downtown, it offers and an escape from the hustle and bustle. For one looking for seclusion to meditate or just commune with the natural it is a true gem.
Having lived in this area for most of my life, I find it easy to overlook what is right before us. It is easy to take mindful walks through O’Dell Park. It’s never been over crowded (that I remember). As you walk up the hill on certain paths it takes you to the Fredericton Botanical Garden. The Gardens are fragrant, but not over done. For the most part, the park itself is wooded until you reach the Gardens. The Gardens are partly wooded, partly open field with a pond and some benches. It’s peaceful and relaxing.
I often find that when I am walking alone it feels more like a meditative practice than simple exercise. Often the sounds around me, the human sounds, seem to dissipate and the natural sounds – the leaves, wind, and birds – take on a soothing feel. The trails are well maintained, at O’Dell Park, and the forest about them shields you from the sounds of traffic and population. There’s a little park my children love to play in, geese and ducks to feed in the pond nearby.
A few years back, some local Pagans gathered in the park for Winter Solstice. Star shaped ice candle holders were made, boughs brought about, apple cider shared over a small fire. It was beautiful, calm, and welcoming. I look forward to walking those paths, and sharing the tranquility.
Do you have a local ‘haunt’ that you enjoy walking mindfully through? Anyplace that holds a special place in your heart?
Crowwitch is a spectacular balance of chaos and order. This energetic hockey, soccer, ringette, karate, mom works hard to keep up with her two brilliantly funny children, and enjoy some quiet time with her devoted partner in the evenings. She also maintains a personal website called Crowwitch.