A random squeak in my boot is amplified by the silence of the forest. I sheepishly look around to see if I am disturbing anyone. The birds, squirrels and mosquitoes don’t seem to mind. Relieved, I continue along the trail.
It occurs to me that (aside from my squeaky shoe) I notice no motion or sound. My mind wanders to the sounds I hear every day – sounds that I accept as normal. Traffic. Airplanes. Voices. Humming appliances. Music. I smile at their absence and close my eyes to let the sensation sink in.
The hair on my arm starts to tingle and I feel a small breeze. Opening my eyes I see the forest come to life.
Activated by the wind, thin leaves shiver on their branches and create a soft whirring sound. The effect reminds me of the bubbles released when a soda pours over ice cubes, scattering in the glass and whispering to my thirst.
This forest in Acadia National Park is a mesmerizing place. Soft light reflects off of pale leaves and white trunks. Cool, crisp air floats through the branches, carrying an earthy smell. Ferns and mosses soften the damp, stony ground. Less than a mile away the sea pounds the rocky shores, yet none of that is felt inside the forest. I love it.
Birch forests, or more specifically Boreal Forests, occupy the northern latitudes of the Earth, from Colorado to Maine to Quebec and Scandinavia. Their peaceful and warm presence inspires me like few others, and I treasure every opportunity to visit this remarkable environment. As much as I love the Oak & Maple forests of the Mid-Atlantic, I find something magical in the Birches.
I am excited and proud to introduce this magic to my oldest daughter Megan. Our trip to Finland (this week!) is a chance to introduce her to a special part of me that I cannot readily explain. I’m curious if she will find the same joy as I do.
At the least she will get to experience a world unlike the one she knows – something that I did not do until I was much older. I can’t wait to read her expressions as she takes it all in. Maybe she will do the same for me!
Thank you for reading along and sharing this moment with me. I’d love to hear about your special places and how you share them with your kids or loved ones. Please drop a comment below!
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