Morning . . . early morning . . . 6:30 am early morning today found me walking the Cardinal Greenway with my 2 mini schnauzer dogs, Bella and Zoe. The girls (that’s what I call my dogs) woke me extra early and the moment I saw the mist hanging over the bean field to the east of my house I knew we were going to hit the trail. I am so blessed to live just a quarter mile from the Jacksonburg Rd. trailhead near Economy (in eastern Indiana, just north of Richmond) and it is so easy to hop into the car and then onto the trail for a brisk walk.
We like to head east on the trail; it winds thru some gorgeous wooded areas with farmland to either side. The long hot summer has me unaccustomed to the low humidity and temperatures I experienced this morning. It was definitely sweatshirt weather! The cooler weather had the girls pulling off to the side of the trail to sniff and scout out whatever animals had visited during the night. I heard rustling in the leaves several times and wondered if a curious deer was quietly surveying our passage thru his territory.
I reflected on how easy it is to get caught up in the day-to-day bustle of life; it seems I am often too busy to notice what a glorious show Mother Nature is putting on for us. Hints of an early fall were apparent in the acorns and dried leaves scattering the pathway and in the more northerly slant of the rising sun. A staccato of light played over me thru the trees and the mist seemed to part as we voyaged east.
Faintly I heard a girl’s voice softly singing and as I rounded a curve could see an Amish girl calling softly to a mare and foal. Both horses rushed toward the girl and gently nuzzled oats from the palms of her hands. She lovingly stroked their necks and continued her soft cooing of love.
As we crossed the bridge over the little creek, a large bird flew over our heads; even from its lofty height I could feel the breeze off its long wing span. Its feet were drawn up tight to its body but he slowly lowered his legs as he swooped down into the creek for an early breakfast. Maybe a heron, I thought. I wanted to stay put and watch the bird meander thru the stream but the girls had other ideas and pulled me onward.
As we neared Economy Road, I looked over the remains of what used to be the Economy Tile Company. Long abandoned and almost ghostly, it is a site I definitely need to add to my Abandoned America list to be photographed. Further east, the girls discovered a mass of hip hopping grasshoppers off the side of the trail and tried to catch a few. I couldn’t help laughing out loud at their antics. Don’t’ worry, I said, you’ll get breakfast when we get back home.
I knew very little about the Cardinal Greenway when I returned from Dayton and the big corporate world in the fall of 2010. Yes, I had heard bits and pieces about the conversion of the old railroad bed into a bike path. And, yes I knew that it had been completed behind my folks’ house near Economy but I really had no idea what a delight it was or that it was Indiana’s longest greenway at 63 miles long.
Secluded and quiet and safe are the words that first come to mind when I think of my time on the Greenway. There are literally dozens of trailheads in our area that allow easy access to the path – just park your vehicle in the safe parking lot and off you go for a bit of fresh air and exercise. You will very quickly forget that it is exercise though as you leave behind all thoughts of your to-do list and lose yourself in the delight of being outdoors.