The Healing Woods:
LaBagh Woods

We kept our Trail Tracing adventure close to home this week by heading back to the LaBagh Woods. This was our sixth time at LaBagh but first time during the fall.

I have to admit, however, that I had to “redo” this blog post. My first dive was pretty much like many others – where we went, what we saw, we’ll be back.

Well…I woke up this morning (Wednesday 10/30) feeling incredibly sad (and angry, and frustrated, and many other feelings). Why? This past Saturday (10/27), 11 people in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania were killed in a horrific attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue. How do I connect to this? My married-into-clan is from Pittsburgh and, more specifically, Squirrel Hill. I can’t recall how many times I’ve walked by, run by, driven by, Tree of Life. I can recall many of the wonderful memories I have of being in Pittsburgh, and how I was welcomed into such a loving family. I’ve been blessed to be married (for 28 years) to a Pittsburgh-er and a Squirrel Hill-er; the one who helps me make sense of and find direction in life.

So, we almost didn’t go to the woods. But, in the end, we did. We went and walked among the trees. We walked on trails where thousands of feet have walked before. We marveled at the colors, shapes and textures that nature gifts to us. We breathed the air that was filled with the scents of autumn. We stood and watched the yellow sugar maple leaves floating down the slowly flowing, darkly colored river. I thought about what happened that morning and how it would affect the families, Squirrel Hill, and Pittsburgh.

LaBagh North Branch Chicago River
LaBagh Hand-Shaped Fungus
LaBagh Grass Closeup
LaBagh Graffiti

While being in the woods usually makes me feel good, it’s really about much more than feeling good. For me, being in the woods is an opportunity to be reminded that who I am and what I do is but a small part of a much larger, much more important whole.

What is my part? Here are some of the things that I try to do as well as I can: be a good person; be a good partner; be a good parent; be an advocate; be supportive; be kind; be caring; listen more than talk; be grateful. I will be the first to admit that I am not perfect at any of the above. As some of my friends would say, it’s about progress, not perfection.

Beginning today (10/30) and over the next few days, those who had their lives taken will be laid to rest. Their names will be said. Going forward, we accept the responsibility that, while we are alive, we will continue to say their names. We ask that their memory be a blessing. For anyone, anywhere, who may be suffering due to this tragedy, may your memories bring you solace over time.

find a trail ~ find your path

~Trail Tracing

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