Nimowin is a Cree word meaning peaceful or quiet. A 45 minute hike down the Nimowin Trail in Birdshill Provincial Park brought us to the highest point overlooking this beaver damn. We ate lunch here, enjoying the sound of the wind rustling through the long grass and reeds, and the company of little chickadees in the brush. The marsh is still frozen over, although much thinner now. March looks a lot like November, but with the promise of green just on the horizon.
I brought home a sprig of dried Bittersweet vine for the nature shelf I have in one window of the house. The bright orange berries which bloom from the flower in August are poisonous. The perennial vine thrives by climbing the surrounding trees to reach the sunlight, sometimes choking the life from it's host. Insidious, voracious but beautiful nonetheless.
Here, there, everywhere are signs of how animals and plants use each other to grow and strive. The trail guide provided us with this quote to ponder :
"Nature can satisfy all our needs but none of our greed." - Mahatma Gandhi
Gotta love a good trail guide education!
In the past few years I've become increasingly aware of how disconnected I had become from nature. I have such fond childhood memories of the times when we would lie in the grass watching clouds, made play houses in the bushes by the park until the sun went down or when I rode a bike with my best friend down a country road by her cabin and we just hung out listening to the sounds of the forrest for hours. As I got older and time went on I became distracted with city life, consumption, and what I perceived to be real entertainment. Movies, shopping, restaurants, bars, repeat. When we had Luke, something changed. I began to appreciate the natural world around us for how beautiful it really is. Even more attractive was how a better relationship with nature would benefit and educate my children. We began by borrowing campers, graduating to our own eggie, and now trying to make this hiking thing a routine.
At first I worried that we weren't athletic, equipped or educated enough to be "outdoorsy" kind of people. I still feel a little insecure when talking about it with people who are really adventurous and experienced. That's not the point though, bragging rights about who takes the longest hike or who only camps backwoods. The point is to just do what you can, at your own pace. It's about finding wonder and to learning how the world works, together. Discovering how everything effects everything else can be quite eye opening. It has the power to teach you about yourself and to help answer that question, what do I really want out of life?