One of natures’ gardens

Published 9:45 am Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Occasionally throughout the year I visit one of nature’s gardens. These are wild spaces untouched by the human hand, allowed to grow and fade with the changing seasons as the Lord chooses. All of these spaces are unique and ever evolving by design.

I find they are special places that provide the perfect environment to recharge one’s spirit. Often they are not easy to access, kind of like the human heart and mind when in need of some repair. But they are well-worth the effort to reach.

My latest journey took me up the Hounds Creek Stream bed, located on a modest wooded partial of land — a soothing natural wonderland for the senses in these times of global tension and technological overload.

Smells and sounds of fall were in the air and there was a permeating dampness throughout the woods. The sun shone through the canopy of the changing foliage on the trees in spots, showering the ground below with warm rainbows of autumn colored sunshine. The dewdrops sparkled on the newly-fallen ground cover of leaves as the occasional hickory, acorn and chestnut would fall hitting the surface in a variety of thumps and splashes.

The Cinnamon and Bracken ferns stood proud. They too appearing as if dressed for autumn with deep tan, browns and oranges now dominating their color palate of bright greens. The fiery red of the trumpet vine flower tucked in against the tree trunks and Golden asters alongside the stream bed graciously provided silent pops of vivid color in this wooded paradise.

I observed many different colonies of wild fungi of all shapes, sizes and colors, each more interesting than the next. Although I find them mostly un-attractive and some downright repulsive on the beauty scale, the longer I lingered to observe them they seemed to draw me in piquing my curiosity.

Observing an area where easy access could be made into the water, I continued my journey upstream, mostly ambling along the sandy rock-covered islands in the stream strewn about along the way. The water hastily flowing along, gurgling and splashing against obstacles in some spots while slowing down softly bubbling past me in others.

In the distance ahead the creek widened and formed some rock formations that resembled dam-like structures and created gentle shallow waterfalls. It was while delighting in this peculiar anomaly that I discovered a truly remarkable sight.

On a small boulder in the middle of the stream a Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) had seeded itself. There it proudly stood in bloom, firmly anchored on stone in the middle of the tumultuous flow of Hounds Creek. I stood gazing in amazement at the site with a new found sense of “where there is will, there is a way,” and the worries I had been preoccupied with seemed to wash away down the stream. It had given me a new sense of inner strength.

I had been baptized by nature with a fresh spirit of optimism and faith in that creek; it was an unexpected experience and a journey I soon won’t forget as I completed the journey out of Nature’s garden.

Dawn Conrad can be reached at or