Conversations at Kortright

Walkway at Kortright Conservation Centre

The walkway at Kortright Conservation Centre in southern Ontario, from May 2009

Last weekend, we went to Kortright Conservation Centre for a walk in the woods.  On the raised wooden walkway, we passed a woman and her two small children, out for stroll in a natural setting.  We stopped at the lookout point above the creek and sat in the shade.  Soon a man and two children, about 9 and 12 joined us.  And then the woman with her two young ones.  We got to talking about this and that.  The beauty of the place, how much we loved it.  The woman said she’d been to Canada’s Wonderland the day before and had felt her head ready to explode after an hour or so.  So, today she had come here for balance.  Soon she moved on, then we did, too, continuing up the hill into the forest.

It’s less likely that in the city any of us would have spoken to one another.  We had never met before and were of different generations, which is often, unfortunately, a barrier.  Here, the beauty of the land was something we could all share our love of and make gentle contact.  The trees and quiet provided us with the balance we needed to be calmer with one another and within ourselves.

I was reminded of the many stories in Richard Louv’s The Nature Principle about this very topic.  He also writes about family nature clubs that are springing up in different parts of the world.  Here, people informally gather in city or suburban parks for time together in settings that have some natural elements—trees, gardens etc.  Parents and their children, as well as childless adults, gather to receive the benefits of spending time in the natural settings available within urban and suburban environments.