There was a book I read in high school. I remember neither the title nor the author, but there is one line in it that I always remembered. The author shared his response to the question often put to him about why he walked. His response was: I walk to feel the earth beneath my feet.
I thought of that line this afternoon. One of the first things we did after settling into our room in a bed and breakfast in Ely, Minnesota was to tak a short hike on one of the trails on the B&B’s property. As we began the hike, we walked through an area of white pines. Then the trees changed. Before my eyes even registered the change or my nose picked up the new scent, my feet knew we had passed into an area of pine trees.
Like the author of the book whose name I can’t remember, I love walking. And his explanation is as good as any others I’ve been able to come up with. I love to feel the earth beneath my feet.
There are few things I love more than walking in a pine forest and what I love most about walking in pine forests is the feel of the bed of pine needles under my feet. It is hard to put into words the quiet softness of the feeling. It comforts me and it slows me down. My foot – even shod – makes contact with the needles and I instinctively stop, close my eyes and breathe deeply, savoring the moment.
And I smile, and say: Thank you God, for letting me feel the earth under my feet. And thank you especially for pine forests and the bed they make for my feet to walk on.