How A Walk In Nature Can Trigger Memories

Connecting With Nature Challenge: Day 2

As we engage in daily life, the simplest thing can trigger the biggest memories to come flooding in, taking over your body. A song on the radio, a dream about ice cream, or a walk in nature.

Leaving the house and taking the kids to school, I told Cameron that he and I would be trying out a new park. Since he is in preschool part time, we get to venture out to try new things once in awhile.

We were out on our morning adventure in the metro parks to explore the natural play areas. This area for the kids had tons of mini trails and even a walk along the river. Afterwards, we hopped back in the van to drive to the nature center where there was a wide open space full of winter bison. The draw for my four year old was the giant animals that he could get up close  and personal with.

Before we left the playground, I grabbed a map of the parks to see if there was anything else we could add to our adventure.

Let The Memories Flood In

There it was clear as day, jumping off the leaflet. Two little words I hadn’t seen in almost twelve years. Darby House. To the average person, it’s another stop in the park system to explore but to me it made my heart flutter with pure joy as I instantly transported myself back to August 19, 2006.

The morning was hot and humid as we were preparing for a summer rain shower. I diligently checked the weather channel website on my computer trying to will the rain to pass us by. No today, of all days. As we sat at breakfast watching the rain pour down, I kept thinking it will stop. It has to. As we got into the car, the clouds parted and the sun came out to play.

My mood lifted as soon as our limo rolled down the steep hill on the driveway lined with white blossomed trees. A large clearing brought us straight up to the remote house set back right along Big Darby Creek. I knew that this would be forever etched in my memory as one of the best days of my life.

As the driver opened my door, I stepped out as a bride ready to marry my groom.

Where Our Family History Began

Naturally, when I saw those two words on the map, I knew we had to drive over there. This venue is across town from our home so we’ve never headed out this way to visit. I didn’t know that Darby Dan Farms was part of the metro parks system, we would be checking out today.  Or that 12 years later, I would be driving into the gated property, no questions asked, with my youngest child.

The moment I drove past all the trees lining the drive, not quite in bloom from the harsh winter we endured this year, I could visualize the white blossoms from the late summer day back many years ago.

As we reached the house and stepped out of the van to look around, it was as if I was transported back in time. The building is wall to wall windows and the room itself was empty to Cameron. But I could see the table in the corner with the scarlet and white table cloths holding our five tiered cake on multiple stands topped with our A & J silver cake toppers.

I saw the DJ booth in the other corner, high top tables set out for our guests to sit at and then all of a sudden the spot light hit the middle of the floor.  John and I walked out for our first dance as husband and wife. The dance we had practiced for weeks so we could stun our family and friends.

Then I was jolted back to real life as Cam exclaimed about the  geese in the river. I saw the geese but felt the memory of the aisle leading up to the river banks, the ground covered with a path of rose petals and chairs on either side of the aisle with white cover.

The wedding planner appears in my memory talking about a contingency plan to bring the ceremony inside if the weather didn’t cooperate. We were in luck that day and while the skies opened up in the morning, the rest of the day was sunny, albeit sweltering hot. I was able to stay in the moment and not get caught up in the details of the event. Even at the end of the evening when I thought my heart was so full and couldn’t take anymore. We were surprised as our guests sent us off to our tropical honeymoon with a tunnel of sparklers.

The little valet statue that waved us goodbye still stands there today waving my child and I adieu as we drive away to see the field of bison.


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