Wildflowers Discovered Along The Trail

Wildflowers Discovered Along The Trail

I've worked mainly with trees and shrubs over my career; it has always been my main area of interest in plants. I set out to pay closer attention to the wildflowers on two recent hikes where I live in the northern Great Plains, one next to the Missouri River and the other in a native prairie area.

When I was younger and lived in Minnesota, I spent a great deal of time in nature on my mountain bike. I loved the speed, the rush, as I attacked the trails. I decided to change it one day and walk those same paths I had biked so many times (trails that took me several months to learn).

These trails were next to the Rum River and were full of interconnected primary and secondary trails constantly turning and changing direction. Keeping your sense of direction in a wooded area can be challenging. The most curious thing about that day's walking experience was that I became lost several times on the paths. Everything looked different at this slower pace. My thinking was different, too; I was now in slow mode! At the time, I chuckled at how strange this was but did not think much about it.

Twenty-some years later, I recently found myself leaving a job where I managed a garden center for 16 years. The job was an excellent fit for my personality. Fast, continually moving, like mountain biking. I relate to working at a garden center, like attending the state fair. It all happens quickly in the spring, at once! Everything takes place at such a frenzied pace when spring breaks; it is hard to slow down after getting through those 3 or 4 CRAZY months (March through June in my area).

So, when I left my fast-paced job, everything slowed down immediately. It was like getting off the bike and going for a walk. Everything looked different. Life was different. I reflected a lot on life, the unknown, and spiritual matters. It's interesting how much we allow our identity to be intertwined with our job.

I wish I had started walking a little earlier. When friends and former co-workers asked how it was going after I left my position, I related my experience, from fast biking to slow walking. Everything seems slower now, and I'm taking more time to enjoy the everyday little things more.

I shared these very thoughts with a friend as we drove along the road, venturing out on a Northern Pike spear fishing adventure. He suggested reading a book titled "Strength to Strength," by Brooks, which led me (on a trail) to "Falling Upward" by Rohr. Should you be at a crossroads in life, a fork in the road, or have fallen off your bike and are lying at the side of the trail in pain? Read these books!

The timing of the read was perfect for me. Maybe they will be for you too.
I need to catch up on identifying the smaller plants on the prairie and in the woodlands. But now that I'm moving slower, what a joy to learn about plants that have been there all along; I did not notice them before.

If you love plants, a nearby nature trail awaits your discovery of a new world of native and wildflower plants you likely won't find at most garden centers. This video examines the many different characteristics of such plants.

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