I tie my hiking boots at 3:15 p.m. New Year’s Day. I’ve anticipated this moment with each email I’ve typed and item checked off my Action Log. At last, I open the door and escape insufferable technology terminology and surmounting roadblocks within the book publishing industry.

This modern age tolerates nothing slower than the speed of light, nothing older than tomorrow’s invention.

Meanwhile, my husband waits in his car, an auspicious siesta. After fifty years of marriage, such simple things grow into a wife’s lifestyle.

I unwind as Mel drives us three miles north into Leonard. I’ve seen the streets of this sleepy little town peopled in July, celebrating their trademark Strawberry Festival; and Halloween’s Trick-or-Treaters, a scary and hilarious parade since Big Foot and his wife set up housekeeping amongst them.

Mel parks in the Polly Ann Trail lot. He prefers the path leading northeast beyond Gerst Road and my beloved Native American Bent Tree to a newly installed bridge.

But he surprises me. “Let’s walk into the sun.”

“Good idea.” I lift my face to the bright, blue sky and breathe the cold, clean air.

All is well.

Snow and ice crunch under our boots. Huge footprints on my side point east. Must be Kyle’s, the neighborhood’s Big Foot. The gentlest man I know.

We’ve never passed Kyle and Charlotte on the trail. They work fulltime with travel from and to this hamlet.

My mind wanders into similar hypothetical territory when walking on a wooded track kept in excellent condition by Polly Ann Trail Manager, Linda Moran.

This glorious freedom to let our mind loose is free. Well, we pay a minimal cost to Addison Township’s general fund determined by the number of our population.

Even so, it’s worth the fee to refresh the imagination and exercise the body within the shelter of trees, wildflowers, and ponds of Spring Peepers. Depending on the season.

I recall a splendid spring day last year. We parked our car and turned east. As we approached Leonard’s Old Mill, shrills of laughter descended from Leonard Elementary School set up on a hill out of view. The closer we walked toward the playground, the louder the cries of laughter.

“It must be recess,” I said and slowed my steps.

Recess. A wonderful word. Thing. Although I could not see the playground, I heard and felt the children’s joy at chase and play.

Now we end our walk west on a winter afternoon, the barren trees on the Polly Ann Trail awash with sunset. The golden thoroughfare of Rochester Road leads us home.

Dear Reader, as the 33rd chapter of Deuteronomy declares, “Blessed be God for the precious things of heaven, for the dew and for the deep that coucheth beneath, and for all the precious fruits brought forth by the sun and for the precious things put forth by the moon, and for the precious things of the lasting hills.

And for the chief things of the ancient mountains.”

Nature is slow and old. She speaks my language.

Email Iris at irisleeu@sbcglobal.net.