Blacklick Woods: A place that brings me joy!


 

A owl who was in a cage at Blacklick for a special day.

One of the places that gives me joy is practically in my own backyard. It’s called Blacklick Woods, and it’s a park owned by the city of Columbus. It’s 2.5  miles from my house.

I go there by different modes of transportation: walking, riding my bike or car. I walk in the park mostly during fall, spring and summer.  I don’t go there much in the winter⎯only a couple of times when it’s not freezing.

I have two favorite trails: one  is a .75 mile trail tree covered trail that  circles the nature center, and another is a 4.1 bike and walking trail which is more open and sunny. You see more animals on the trail by the Nature Center. I’m guessing they like to hang out there because it’s more woodsy.

The walking trail is a relatively level path, but there’s one good hill.  Sometimes I  speed down that hill on my bike. When I”m doing that I feel like I’m 10 years old. I feel joy!

I like to watch the young mothers and fathers pedaling their bikes with their kids attached to the back of their bikes in a covered contraption.  Often, you’ll see a jogger pushing their kids in a stroller while they jog.  All the kids seem to be enjoying the ride.

I usually visit the Nature Center before I take my walk. It’s a little building with some displays and a big window where you can view nature doing its own thing. Sometimes, when you look out the window, you’ll spot a hawk or an unusual colored bird eating the food in the feeders. Sometimes, you’ll spot other animals. I’ve seen minks, possums, raccoons, and mice.

There’s a lot of different people sitting around the nature center watching the animals. There’s a big window where we can all watch the animals eating the seeds and drinking the water left by the park rangers. The little kids are almost more fun to watch than the animals. They like to point at the animals out the window. It’s the joy of discovery; it seems to make them so happy.

” Mommy, that bird likes me. He’s looking at me,”  one little guy recently said to his mom.

“Yes he does,” she agreed.

Today when I went on my walk around the Nature center, there was a deafening high sound. It was the peepers (frogs) looking for mates. I’d never heard that sound before. When I asked the guide how long it lasts. “Until they all find mates.”

The people who visit the park remind me of the animals. When it’s a nice day, they all become active and materialize. Today, many were wearing summer garb because it was a lovely spring day.

The park gave me a luxurious feeling: there’s nothing like the feel of the warm sun. When I got out of the range of the peepers, I felt the soft sweet wind.

I get a little sad in the fall when I see the leaves starting to turn colors because I know what’s next. Winter with her cold temperatures and snow. But mother nature is full of surprises. This year I kept waiting for the snow, but it never fell.

I never counted how many times I’ve walked around the trail. It must be in the hundreds.  I  never know if I’m going to spot a deer family. There’s something fun about coming across a free wild animal. Maybe it’s because you never know when it’s going to happen. If they get too close, I get a little nervous. After all, they are wild animals.

As a young mother, I used to take my kids to the very same park. The fancy playground they have up now wasn’t there at the time. It was just swings and a slide, but it was enough for them. I find it hard to believe that part of my life ever existed. I sometimes wonder when it ended. It seems like you should be able to record the date on a calendar or write it in a book. But life isn’t like that.

Sometimes my grown-up children will humor me by accompanying me to the park. The last time I went with two of them, my daughter said, “look mom!” She pointed at a barn owl, sitting in a tree during the day.

I was as excited as a little kid. I’d looked for them on owl walks, but never spotted one before.  I got up really close, and we stared at each other.

“Where you been hiding?” I asked. He just kept staring, and even moved his head from side to side.

If I moved from my house, I think the park is the thing I’d miss the most.

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