For some southerners, camping under the stars, hunting a variety of animals, fishing for the largest bass in the river, and being outside in general is a necessity. I wouldn't go as far as to call myself the outdoorsy type but I do appreciate the beauty of nature. When I was younger, my family lived on a bluff in north Alabama. Our backyard was filled with massive rock sculptures, mossy pathways, trees for miles, honey suckle vines, a creek that seemed more like a river, the whole nine yards. My sister and I would spend hours riding crushed boxes down the leaf-covered ground, trying to squeeze in between boulder crevices, and figuring out the best way to cross the water without getting drenched (or in trouble with our mother). When I think back to my childhood, those memories burn as bright as the camp fire we used to make s'mores around with all the other neighborhood kids. My passion for carelessly playing around in the woods diminished when I was thisclose to stepping on a rattle snake. I swore off nature adventures after that day and never revisited my once favorite past time.
Fast forward fifteen years and I now find myself living in a picturesque mountain city in Tennessee. Slowly but surely, I'm back on the hiking wagon and enjoying every minute of it. The rustling of the crispy fallen leaves is a reminder of when my sister and I would run around the paths playing hide-and-go-seek. From the sound of crunching under our feet, we knew exactly where the other was hiding but played along anyway. The smell of fresh air takes me back to a simpler time when the younger version of myself didn't have a worry in the world. There was no setting the early morning alarm for a job, utility bills seemed like foreign objects, and a home cooked meal magically appeared on our dinner table every single night. The waterfalls and creek beds draw a mental picture of the pebbles we used to skip. We would count the hops out loud and then make our individual cases as to why one stone skipped better than the other. The endless tree line is now a temporary escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and transports me straight back to small town Alabama. So go out and do something you did as a child; it's sure to fill your heart and put a grin on your face.