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Nature; My Kind of Church

Colleen Hannegan

Me and my tree.

Me and my tree.

Every day we walk a new trail. Even if it appears to be the same one we walked yesterday, there are subtle and sometimes not so subtle changes all around us. Yesterday I hiked  my favorite trail in Aliso and Woods Canyon wilderness park. It’s tucked alongside a creek and is partially hidden from the main hiking and mountain biking fire trail. Only hikers are allowed on this sweet single track surrounded by a wild, magical grove of oak and sycamore trees. Each time I hike in, I notice changes caused by the weather. New rain ruts appear or deer tracks, hiking boot prints, fallen trees, or crazy overgrowth from Spring busting loose and not caring where She grows her wild flowers. Poison oak has spread far and wide, clinging and climbing up and over and under and between.  Each time I pass through, it feels new and welcomes me like a familiar friend with the birds calling and creek frogs singing and the rustling leaves of small animals nearby. I was lucky to spend a few moments exchanging eye to eye with a deer yesterday. She paused and looked my way as I stopped to enjoy her beauty and grace, the sun highlighting her gorgeous color.

I spent a quiet few minutes lost in the sounds and whispers of nature as I sat underneath this very special ancient oak that is a Shaman’s “journey” tree for me. It seems the beauty of this tree could well be the Mother of this entire park! Her towering trunk and large limbsI reaching up and beyond all the neighboring trees, shading the path and housing all manner of birds and crawly things. A most peaceful 30 minutes!