Recently, I took a photo of a friend standing on a tumble-down bridge, overlooking a pond.
A pink flower rested behind her ear, and blossom-burdened bushes burst up behind her. The slow paddling of two mallards created ripples in the pond’s silvery surface.
When another friend saw the picture later, she asked how I manage to find “cool places like that.” Usually, I might have shot for something profound like, always be on the lookout. Be willing to explore aimlessly. Enjoy the searching as much as the finding.
However, this photo was actually taken right here on Troy’s campus, so all I had to do was point my friend in the right direction- to the Troy Arboretum.
This little haven of nature is often forgotten. Its existence slips under the radar entirely for many students, especially freshmen. For others, the walk is just a tad too far, and it’s never been a priority to drive there. Either way, the arboretum is worth an afternoon, even if it is just an hour to wander around the pond and do some hammocking.
This woodland has hosted many an adventure for me over the past year and a half. To name a few…
Strolling around the pond as a respite from the hustle and bustle of the college day. Tromping down trails that twist through the woods. Stringing up hammocks and reading, conversing, or napping in the cool breeze.
Picnicking on the forest floor with Herb’s Place sushi, peanut butter crackers, and coffee. Having a photo shoot with friends.
Swinging on a rope that was hung by who-knows who, who-knows why, who-knows how, over a pit full of branches and rocks and uneven ground. And falling off said rope swing (but hey, I lived to not only tell the tale, but to laugh at myself for lack of upper body strength.)
Lying on the rickety old bridge at midnight, watching cotton-ball clouds race across the sky, and making shapes and stories to go with them before they disappeared. Catching what glimpses we could of stars between them. Singing ballads and hymns and show-tunes. Laughing and talking and delighting in the beauty of friendship.
That last night was probably my favorite time the arboretum has offered yet, but they were all pretty great.
And all this is right here on Troy’s campus.