A winter hike

Poem and essay by Jayke Brown

A winter hike follows tracks of snow

All with endless places to go

We see the white fluff everywhere

Even on the paths bench and chair

The lake is frozen good solid through

The sky is showing crystal blue

Animal tracks coming here and there

No more stress nor a single care

Happy Winter Day, everyone! The other day, my husband, daughter and I were running some errands. We stopped to eat at one of our favorite places, Wally Waffle, then went to grab a gift card for a family member to make their own wine at It’s Your Winery in Medina. Before going on to our next destination, we decided to pull off at a local area park. We stopped at The Wolf Creek Environmental Center/ Alderfer-Oenslager Wildlife Sanctuary in Medina County, about 10 minutes west of the exit for Fairlawn. I had taken my residents here a few years back, and they enjoyed it, especially the nature center. Sadly, the nature center was not open with the dreaded virus still going around, but all the land, acres upon acres to stroll across, were. 

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When we got there, the snow was covering the ground, the buildings and the trees. One such pile was sitting on some tree branches beside my car, and this tree had red berries growing strong on it. Looking at it made me just envision the winter pictures that you see and imagine they are just a fairy tale but turns out it is right here in our backyards, so I took a picture. We started walking toward the building and followed a path where there were a number of ponds, lakes and creeks to captivate us. It was not an overly cold day, so the hike was bearable. We followed one of the shorter paths and along the way were wooden cutout characters that were actually rather fun to find and look at. You never knew what the next one would be doing or looking like. We even found one that looked like me!

Our favorite area was a dock that you could walk on in one area and off in another. There was not a single soul in sight while walking this dock, but on it, we decided to have a bit of a snowball fight. It was joyous glee that was sorely needed after all that is going on in the world. After that, we made a few little snow people and even a snow castle (as we had a hot chocolate cup we had finished while on the walk). Before leaving this area, we found a stick and put that on top of the snow castle to add that royal touch.

Just holding hands and walking around, you could occasionally hear some of the cars not too far off in the distance, but you could also hear nature’s peace and quiet. Imagine being in the middle of a field with trees around, open land laying out before you, birds chirping, fresh air with a hint of evergreen and the sound of crunching snow under your feet. It makes you feel almost light; light enough that a breeze could blow you over. 

Walking back to the car, we passed over a bridge built by a Boy Scout troop. Before crossing, I told my daughter “Beware of the trolls.” When I was a child, saying this would have scared me and I would have sought payment to cross over that bridge, but she was excited, calling out for the trolls to come and visit her. Oh, how commercialism has changed so many things in this world. Before heading back to the car, we found a container. It looked like one you would find individual bubble gum in but taped on it was a note to grab yourself a “Mini Yule Lad.” It was a cute little man created from building logs. It felt like a nice gift on a day like today.

Every day that you get to spend with your loved ones should be a blessing and we should always try and make the most of it. Luckily, my daughter was on her best behavior or I am sure this walk would have felt more like walking the plank than walking in this nature oasis. Even if she was having a bad day, we have to remember that kids will be kids. Kids also need to let out some energy and a good hike, even if short, is a great way to allow them to do that. 

If you have the time, make sure to take some time out. Reconnect with yourself, reconnect with nature and relax today! You deserve it, you need it and so does everybody else!

Jayke Brown is living life to the fullest while being a daddy, husband, author, caregiver and friend to everyone he meets.

Photo provided by Jayke Brown.

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