Tucked between the gentle slopes of a long-vanished glacial landscape and the Niagara Escarpment is an oasis of peace and tranquillity – the Hibou Conservation Area. Here’s a place where nature and magic meet upon the forest floor of yesteryear, created at a time that my imagination can wander to with every step that I take. In the forest, there is a sense of kinship with the flora, of an ancient soul that stretches into everything that lives. How could I not love being here?
As I follow the trail to the shore of Georgian Bay, I stop to watch the glorious Monarch butterfly seeking her daily nectar, dancing in a splash of colour like a delicate flower of the sky, born to fly into the warm summer air.
The forest hums with life all around me. I twirl about, gazing up at the canopy of the trees, searching for the birds that sing so sweetly. I think to myself how absolutely incredible it is that these towering gentle giants grew from simple seeds, with mud, water and sun, providing me the oxygen I breathe and cleaning the air so fresh and wonderfully fragrant.
This is when I stop knowing and begin feeling; it’s when I hear with my heart the voices of these mighty trees, and the language of birds that are singing to my soul now so clear. This is what it means to live in the moments of life.
Just up ahead, past the mushrooms that are anchoring into the underground network of nutrition and communication, I can now see the waves of Georgian Bay. The largest freshwater Bay in the world will energize my hands as I glide them through it’s forever cool waters. Looking down, I notice some strange pattern on the rock. I pick it up and look closer and can hardly contain my amazement. In my hand, I am holding a trilobite fossil that once lived when this land was the bottom of a warm water sea created 500 million years ago. I look all around me and realize that I am seeing and touching this ancient sea floor in the here and now. What an incredible day this has been; a day that I can come back to again and again each time I visit the Hibou Conservation Area.
by Annette Sandberg, ECA Director and Certified Hiking Guide with Hike Ontario
(Previously published in the Friend of Hibou Newsletter – Winter 2020/2021)