In Praise of Small

In Flora, Nature Reserves, Properties, Summer, Trails, Uncategorized by couchiching

If there was one Couchiching Conservancy trail that could be considered micro – it would be the Periwinkle trail.

It is our shortest trail at a mere 0.15km, at the Grant’s Woods Nature Reserve on Division Road West in Severn. Grant’s Woods is the home of The Couchiching Conservancy’s office and I often see people look at the trail map, decide to try it because it is the shortest trail, then come out the other side flabbergasted because walking it takes about 30 seconds to a minute.

But, it’s beautiful, lush ferns give it a rainforest feel, and the clear path of pine needles make a picture perfect orange coloured path through the greenery that is quiet and soft underfoot. There are great birds in spring and mushrooms in autumn, it is a slice of forest life.

It even makes a convenient scenic route from my car to the office without being late for work!

The trail also holds a special memory for me. Because it is so short, and so flat, I could take my grandmother there. I believe it was the last forest trail she ever visited. Arthritis got the better of her knees as she aged and grocery shopping became a challenge, let alone a hike. Even on that small trail I could share our work with her, and the forest felt just as immersive, and welcoming as it would 1km further in.

A short walk through Periwinkle, followed by a thermos of tea in the gazebo makes for ‘day in the woods’ that is relaxing and accessible for loved ones who can’t get too far. Even the shortest walk in nature can bring memories of a lifetime flooding back. We had a lot of laughs discussing camping in the ‘60s, picnics and my grandfather’s hunting trips, all while watching birds flit at the feeders

“All this is to say, that time in nature is worth it, no matter how ‘small’ it seems. Ten minutes on a park bench, a one-minute walk on a short trail, 30 seconds glancing at a bird feeder – even the shortest break can take us away from the daily grind, ground us and bring us back to the moment.”

If you are looking for the smallest of outdoor experiences, if you aren’t familiar with the woods or if you can’t make it too far from the car I invite you to visit the Periwinkle trail because, as I am sure many insects would attest, Nature is Nature no matter how small.

Courtney Baker is the Administrative Assistant at The Couchiching Conservancy, a local land trust dedicated to protecting nature for all future generations. www.couchichingconserv.ca