the personal views, thoughts, and musings of donna d'errico

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Great Outdoors

I have just started taking a daily hike in the mountains around my home, and I must say I am already addicted. It is simply breathtaking beauty all around me as I hike, and it takes me back to my days as a young girl in Georgia. When I was young, I used to spend most of my time on my own at the little wooded lake across the street from my home. There, I would climb trees, catch minnows and crayfish in the stream, and explore all the wildlife and nature I could in the woods. I'd catch snakes, find alligator snapping turtles and study how patient they were

while holding their mouths open awaiting unsuspecting prey, come across ducks' nests full of eggs and quietly step around them, and sit up high in a tree to observe deer drinking from the lake. I would dig my own earthworms (I got quite adept at it!) to use as bait, and then take a simple string of fishing line with a little hook on the end, wrap it around the end of the longest stick I could find, and fish in the lake. I'd usually catch several brim that way. The bass were out farther than my little homemade fishing pole could reach, and I didn't have a long enough line to reach the bottom for the catfish. But I was very content with my brim. I'm quite certain that they weren't legally "keepers", but then again I had no fishing license and I was only nine or ten at the time so I didn't care. (Photos above: alligator snapping turtle, crayfish, and the lake I spent my childhood exploring)

Hiking is bringing back some of those childhood memories. There is no lake where I hike, no stream, no woods, and the mountain terrain is much different than the flatlands of southern Georgia. But the smell of wildflowers, the sound of songbirds in the trees, and the fresh, clean air in my lungs all take me back to a sweeter, less complicated time in my life. And as I hike along, I can't help but wonder at all that God has put here for us to enjoy. But we stay cooped up in our houses or go to the gym for fitness, forgetting just how amazing and wonderful it is to be out in nature. Well, I'm back. And I'm loving every second of it.


  1. That's wonderful Donna!!:)..I love nature too!! of my favourite things is riding my horse in the country near the riding track and being in contact with the nature..I love riding early in the morning with my friend and listen to the birds sing, I can feel the wind in my hair and breath clean and fresh air..It's just soo peaceful and being on an old movie..hehe:)..I bet Hiking is the same for can relax, and reflect about your life:)....
    Thank you so much for this blog!!Love it!!..really, reading it and discover something else about your childhood has been really beautiful :)..
    kisses and hugs from Italy!!:) Marta(facebook):-)

  2. Wow! It's scary how much alike we think. Your words ring true for me as well.I go out on weekly hikes to be with nature and become closer to God. It's my spiritual retreat from daily life. Being a health food store owner, and also a certified nutritionist and shiatsu practitioner makes it easy for me to relate with you in general, but I also relate well with not watching the network news programs or reading the papers. This afternoon after I close - I'm heading out into the Pine Barrens to continue my journey. Thanks for sharing your message - Be well, and blessings to you and your family.
    Regards, Eric Spinner, NJ

  3. Hello Donna
    I was just seeing how I had the very same childhood as you had-in reference to spending time outdoors. I too, from the age of 3 would wander the expanses of our country home focusing on catching wildlife-specifically aquatic-and forgetting the complexities of the world through viewing nature. Nature became my compensation for lack of friends, also. Late '70s- late '80's. In hindsight, I found myself thinking how impossible such childhood solo outdoor indulgences are no longer possible- what with every sexual deviant coming out of the woodwork and the sharp decline of decency in society- it's just not safe to do that anymore. Times have changed.
    I just wrote you a facebook message hoping you would elaborate and expand on your encounters with "Nancy" at the lake. I too encountered a ghostly girl near a lake, but only in reccurring dreams, prompting me to write a story about it (her).
    The virtue of nature (and books) are seemingly lost in the embracing of portable devices and video games. If everyone had the same awakening as you have, there would be far fewer prescriptions for psychiactric drugs.