One of our favorite close-to-home places for hiking is at Bear Mountain Lodge. It’s a former Nature Conservancy site that has some great hiking trails. Most of the time when we drive up to the gate, it’s wide open and we drive right in. Sometimes, however, there’s a chain strung across the road with an attached metal sign that says the horses have been let out to graze, so please put the chain back so the horses can’t get loose.
This past week when we went to hike, the gate was closed—the first time I’ve realized that there was even a functioning gate! When we got closer, we could see a sign on the gate that said the cows had been let out to graze. As we drove up to the parking area, we could see three cows and a calf—which would explain why the chain was not sufficient to keep all the livestock in.
And we did indeed hang out with the livestock. Even though we’ve encountered the chain a number of times, we hadn’t seen the horses “out and about” until this hike, either. As my hiking buddy said, it’s “all out day!” We saw the Bear Mountain Lodge owner out walking his dogs, the horses and cows were out grazing, and we came across another dung beetle, out diligently harvesting dung from the pathway.
The weather was also lovely; warm, but not too hot, reminding me that autumn is, at least for most of the US, a great time of year for getting outdoors. So I ask: when is the last time you got out? You read about my hikes; do you take any of your own? What would it be like to declare “all out day” at your house and let everyone—humans and animals—out for a chance to romp freely in some portion of God’s beautiful creation?