“I will live my life like a tree in the woods/growing and moving forward, just as I should/changing with the seasons, over and over again/I may look a little different, but I never change who I am.”~From the song “Forest” written and performed by my niece Heather Hammers.
I took a walk in the woods on a beautiful spring day not too long ago in a little forest near my apartment. The woods are part of the Missouri Department of Conservation, the spot is secluded, protected and wonderfully primitive. One can walk into the woods of Bangert Island almost feel as though you’ve left all civilization behind you, and that you’ve stepped back into time.
During our walk, which was nearing sunset, my husband and I saw several birds, including woodpeckers, cardinals and a sweet little robin (I named him Mr. Robin) we followed for about thirty feet. My husband snapped off at least fifty pictures of our diminutive avian friend.
We also spotted several deer on our walk, since the forest sits along the banks of the Missouri River, there were deer walking to and from the water source. While we were lucky enough to snap plenty of pictures of Mr. Robin, the deer were just too quick for us to get any photos.
What struck me the most about our trek through the forest was that once I was ensconced in that lush, green canopy, I felt myself instantly relax. There’s something so calming about the woods.
Maybe it’s the fact that it’s secluded, or maybe it’s because in order to walk through the woods, you need to be quiet so you don’t scare off the wildlife. Or maybe it was because I felt a connection to something bigger and older than myself.
The trees at Bangert Island are some of the biggest trees I’ve ever seen in Missouri, if not in my entire life. While I was walking through and craning my neck back to look at their glorious tops, I realized I was walking through a space that more than likely hasn’t changed all that much since the Lewis and Clark days.
Now, in St. Charles, where I live, Lewis and Clark are two important men. The riverfront in downtown St. Charles is part of the trail the pair walked when on their expedition to the Pacific coast in early the 1800s.
When I was in the forest, touching those huge, stately trees, and enjoying shade from their massive branches, I couldn’t help but get caught up in the slightly Romantic notion that I could be touching the same trees that Lewis and Clark, and countless others before them, have touched.
Knowing I was somewhere so old and filled with history, yet, for the most part, unchanged, left me with a peaceful feeling. It helped to remind me of the interconnectedness that we all share that transcends time.