I went back to the same parking lot as last week on Neal Avenue North in Stillwater. My intention was to walk west this time instead of east. Walking along a paved bike trail on a nice day is an invitation to have my thought processes interrupted often with shouts of “on your left”. I was mentally prepared.
In no way am I suggesting annoyance with the phrase “on your left”. It is appreciated! Safety first! I am saying that when I choose to use a combined use path it is a different experience than using a path created for pedestrians only. I enjoy all trails and sometimes that means having to share with wheels.
Just a few steps into my walk on Brown’s Creek State Trail I noticed someone walking on a mowed grass trail a short distance away. Thinking it was a short dog-walking loop I decided to check it out before continuing west on the bike trail. It kept going and going and going. At each intersection I chose a direction I had not gone before. There were only a few times that I had to retrace my steps. I had no map but that did not matter because I was never very far from my starting point. The sun provided shadows to help me know which direction I was walking. There were enough open spaces to visually connect landmarks. This walk was a lot of fun. There was a sign declaring that only cross country skiers are allowed on the trails north of the railroad tracks once there is snow cover. There currently is no snow cover so I walked most of those trails too. I’m assuming that the sign pre-dates the paved bike trail. I did not see any railroad tracks and many bike trails in Minnesota used to be railroad tracks.
There is a pond north of the railroad tracks (bike trail) and I paused there. It reminded me of the pond near my home when I was young. It wasn’t the size or shape of it, it was just the feeling of standing there. I savored the feeling for a bit and then continued on. I think it was the dried, fuzzy cattail plants and the fresh thin ice and the comfortable solitude. Occasionally a car drove by on the road at the other side of the water. Occasionally a small animal or bird moved nearby. For a few minutes it seemed that all was well and good in the world.
I hope all is well and good in your world at this moment. If it is, savor that.