DeWayne's World - A natural treasure

DeWayne Bartels

I discovered a treasure.

The sky was clear Aug. 6 and the temperature was fine. I was on vacation.

It seemed an appropriate time to head to Black Partridge Park and check out the trails I had heard so much about. I love hiking in natural settings.

The park did not disappoint.

It was 10:10 a.m. and the first thing I was struck by was the song of the numerous cicada’s in the canopy of trees that were overhead on the trail entrance I selected.

I had not gone very far at all before seeing a lush green valley off to my left.

The fallen trees that created natural sculptures could not be missed.

The farther I went on the trail the more I became aware while alone I was not alone. The delicate songs of far off birds floated through the air. Spider webs glistened in the filtered sunlight and colorful butterflies were abundant.

A bridge came into view and underneath it water flowed by. As it rushed over rocks it sent out a distinct sound — an invitation to sit, take off your shoes and dangle your feet in the water.

It was an incredible experience I plan to repeat.

On the way out I found some people enjoying the park, others who long before me discovered this treasure.

“I like it here. I like how they give you room to go off the trails,” Ben Hantak, 18, of Germantown Hills, said. “I think the trails here are important. I like hiking. It’s not like you can just go hiking anywhere.”

Isabel Hammond, 9, of Germantown Hills said, “I like to play in the creek.”

Her father, Brian, said he has been bringing his children to the park for about five years.

“I like it here because it shows the kids what nature is. You need places like this. We are just came back form Oregon. It was open undeveloped wilderness. We need places like this in our urban areas.”

My sentiments exactly.

Rhea Edge, chairwoman of the Fine Arts Division at Eureka College agrees.

“Green space is very important because we have so little of it. Our lives are filled with e-mails and Facebook,” Edge said.

“It’s an overwhelming world we live in. We have too few opportunities to shut down. Nature puts things into perspective. In nature you see you are just a speck in the universe. There’s a wholeness about an experience in nature.”

Edge said we all need quiet time like that found on the trails of Black Partridge Park.

“Part of being human is recognizing we are inherently connected to the natural elements. We are animals,” she said. “We are part of the natural world. We have become far too disconnected from that world.”

Edge said what nature offers us is more than just sensory stimulation.

She said studies show that time in nature lowers blood pressure.

“It’s a type of meditation,” Edge said.

That, she said, is enough reason for everyone to become involved in protecting green space.

“How often do any of us get to be in real quiet? It’s hard to find quiet,” she said. “We have to make a decision to get away from all the noise in our lives. My main point is because we are so busy we have to make a decision to make a space in our lives to do this. It’s not natural to us anymore.”

She is so right.

As one who has just discovered Black Partridge Park let me say thank you to all those involved in making this natural treasure available.

DeWayne Bartels is news editor of the Woodford Times.