So I did go back to the Iowa Arboretum yesterday and walked around the perimeter, maybe half a mile or so, and it was nice and I would have gone farther, but a wedding was about to take place so I finished my loop and headed out. Back to the Ledges I went and onto the Lost Lake trail, an easy half-mile hike to the lake–more of a big pond, really, and in kind of sad shape, but it was nice to sit for a while in the sun there and enjoy the dragonflies and butterflies in flight. One intrepid butterfly landed on my leg, and with a little encouragement, perched on my finger for a good long while, its long, delicate proboscis in constant motion, trying to find something good and tasty on my skin. Eventually, it gave up and fluttered off, but for a few moments, I enjoyed an intimate encounter with that beautiful creature.
For anyone who thinks Iowa is flat and boring (that’s Nebraska, by the way, not Iowa), places like the Ledges will soon change that opinion. Nestled into the Des Moines River Valley, the park is a hilly wonder, and I had to wonder what I was thinking on the way back to the parking lot, climbing up an endless, somewhat rough hewn set of steps, up and up to what the sign at the beginning of the trail said was one of the highest elevations in the park instead of taking that easy half-mile trail back. I was, as my dad would have said, puffin’ like a lizard when I made it to the top, but the important thing was that I did make it to the top. Without dying, even. A few moments of recovery on the bench at the top, a few more admiring the view down into the valley and the river just beyond, and then it was down, down, down to the bottom of the hill, a quarter of a mile or so back to the car, and some well-deserved cool water.
All in all, I put maybe another couple of miles onto my well-worn shoes, but in terms of what I really did–well, I went miles ahead of where I was not all that long ago. Today, I’ll see about putting a little more mileage on those old shoes of mine. Every step brings me that much closer to where I want to be on this long journey that will continue for the rest of my life. But it’s not the destination that matters so much as the journey, right? and there is joy in the journey.
Happy Sunday, all–make it a great day!