We all have something that we turn to for revitalization, something that fuels our soul like a straight shot of espresso does for our bodies.
Mine is nature.
Every morning my dog Bella and I head for the hills. The foothills that is. I live in a small subdivision – it’s really more like a little country town – about five miles outside the ever-expanding city of Boise, Idaho. My little town tucks right up next to the Boise front which is a long series of foothills which in turn nestle up to mountains and beyond that, more mountains.
The photo above is looking down from a section of trail running up one of those foothills, a place Bells and I like to hike and explore. In the distance to the left in this pic is a thick little forest of trees – that’s where my home is but you can hardly see any structures for the trees. One of the reasons my husband and I chose this little town was it’s proximity to the hills and it’s near distance from the bustling city Boise has become. In a word – Nature. I can feel myself relaxing just typing the word.
So a hike every morning of about an hour keeps me healthy and sane and makes for one happy dog.
This section of access road winds up another couple hundred feet and is chock full of doggy treats such as quail, rabbits, lizards and signs of passing coyotes, deer, elk and even a wolf track once.
We also see the occasional snake or two. This guy is a bull snake. He was happy to pose with my walking staff until I got it a bit too close. Then his next pose was his imitation of a rattle snake, which bull snakes can do very well. They even shake the tip of their tails like a rattler but, sorry dude, no rattle. Still, it’s usually convincing enough that most other creatures will buy the bluff and leave them alone.
This pretty girl is my constant companion. She’s a pound hound, a rescue from the local animal shelter. She’s half Australian Shepherd and half German Shepard and the sweetest smartest dog we’ve ever had.
While hiking about, I always keep my eyes open for whatever treat I can discover in the great outdoors. It might be a piece of old rusted metal that I can work into a craft project. Maybe it’s seeing a freshly hatched covey of baby quail or a fawn tucked under a bush to stay hidden and cool in the advancing summer heat.
But in the sandy foothills, which are actually the shores of a very ancient lake, I sometimes get lucky and find FOSSILS.
I have always loved fossils, they fascinate me. Holding a fossil in my hand is like having a time machine in my grip. The world gets thrown into fast reverse and I can’t wait to play amateur sleuth to discover what the bone turned to stone that I hold in my hand may have been in another time and place.
This is the trash heap of debris that a rodent, probably a pocket gopher, has pushed out of the ground as he dug his way into the hillside. See that odd bit half buried in sand and pebbles? Fossil, yes!
I turned it over and that shot of Nature’s Espresso hit big time. It’s a jaw bone with teeth.
Not real big – but consider, this is actually the jaw bone of a fish. Yes, a fish that had molars. Even stranger, these fish were considered “minnows” – yikes! I guess you know what the ‘predator’ fish must have looked like. These fish are from the late Miocene to the Pleistocene era – that’s a lot of 00000 back in time.
Man, I lived on this buzz for quite a while. I can’t wait to see what my sandy hills will show me next.
Bella, however, is ready for a drink and getting cooled off.
There’s a creek that runs down from the nearby mountains called Currant Creek. It’s just the right depth for a dog who likes to play in water but not necessarily swim, thank you very much.
Oh yea, that’s it – right up to the chest is perfect. She’s feeling around with her feet for pieces of limbs and branches that have become waterlogged and sunk to the bottom.
Then she works them over to the edge where she can get a hold of them with her mouth without getting too much of her snout wet.
She’s starting to build quite a collection. What a goober. I’ve brought a tree round from home to serve as a natural seat and I put it next to the stream here. And while I watch my silly beaver/dog play I can also catch up on the news on my selling platform, Etsy, and while I’m surfing, she’s playing, and nature flows by around us. What a perfect way to spend an hour or so every morning.
Back home again and ready to start my day. The dog – well she has her raccoon and the cat (Smokey) to welcome her back for an after-play nap. I love my life and writing this post has helped me bring that just a little better into focus. I hope your day gives you the same glimpse that I just had. Thanks for sharing mine.