Bill Leslie: Rhythm, rhyme, repetition of nature and laughter

January 11, 2019
Johnston Mill Nature Preserve

It was a warm winter day. Any day you can work up a sweat in January is a good day. I was hiking the trails of Johnston Mill Nature Preserve earlier this week with my wife Cindy. It is a lovely place — 296 acres of tranquility just a few miles from downtown Chapel Hill.

The voice of this place is the water. It has the sound and feel of mountain streams I experienced as a child growing up just down the road from the Blue Ridge. We were enthralled by the rhythm, rhyme and repetition of the water as we walked for a good hour and a half.

We took the “root route.” That’s when you tiptoe over the trails’ muddy spots by landing on the tapestry of exposed roots from the thousands of bare hardwoods here.

We definitely want to come back in the spring when the wildflowers are blooming and again in autumn when the colors of all these trees will be putting on a glorious show.

The Triangle Land Conservancy is responsible for making this marvelous refuge available for all of us to enjoy. A plaque in the preserve sums up the beauty of this place in the warmer months. It reads:

The songs of birds,

The rustle of wind-cooled leaves,

The gurgling of the brook,

All remind us of our children’s laughter,

As they ran and played,

Beneath the trees of Chapel Hill.

We lovingly dedicate the benches,

Along this woodland path,

To the memory of our children.

Sit and rest and listen,

To the memory of their laughter.

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