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Taking note: A forest found

The verdant canopy of the forest spanned as far as the eye could see. Sunlight glowed through the leaves, casting a calming light upon the scene. Shades of chartreuse and evergreen surrounded me.

A few leaves in hues of red and orange were scattered on the forest floor, even though there wasn’t an autumnal-looking tree in sight.

The fresh, new look of the foliage made it hard to believe it was mid-September.

It felt like it was still early summer in this near-forgotten forest.

The sun was unusually bright and hot for this time of year. My heavy sweater and coat were turning out to be unnecessary.

But I continued along the trail through the forest, determined to continue experiencing its beauty.

I found a golden carpet of leaves scattered — almost as if they were rose petals — upon a rocky, rooted area of the trail.

The carpet of leaves led to a little rocky outcropping, where the tannin-tinted waters of a waterfall rushed over magnificent boulders.

I found myself enchanted by the sound of the rushing water and the view of the forest that surrounded it.

The waterfall was breathtaking.

But it was really the forest that captivated me.

The seemingly endless green canopy.

The collection of moss and lichen growing at the base of large old trees.

The lush green ferns.

The rich brown earth that made up the narrow path through the woods.

I was in awe.

I couldn’t believe I hadn’t ever visited this spot before.

It was so close, all this time.

It was right under my nose for years.

But in a way, I was delighted that it was my first time in this forest, as there’s nothing like discovering a new and beautiful place in nature.

A place that enthralls you and invites you to keep on returning, a place that inspires joy, wonder and peaceful reflection.

I’ve been lucky enough to find many places that provide me with these experiences.

And whether it’s a newly discovered place or an old favorite, spending time in a natural area can do us so much good.

We can take comfort in the gentle bubbling of a stream, or the wild heights of old trees.

We can try to identify animals, plants and minerals.

We can try to consider nature and our place in it.

We can try to think beyond our day-to-day plans and stressors.

And while our lives and our world seem to grow more complicated by the minute, we can still find peace and hope in the natural world.

We can try to learn from nature.

We can take our inspiration from a stream and continue moving forward despite obstacles in our paths.

We can recognize that obstacles can create a thing of unexpected beauty, much like a waterfall is created by moving water that meets a large formation of stones.

We can also slowly wear down the obstacles in our paths by flowing around them.

We can transform seemingly immovable boulders into smooth river stones if we can be as persistent as moving water.

And when we act like a flowing stream, gentle yet persistent in the face of obstacles, we can find ourselves upon a beautiful path.

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