A connection with nature has always been an important part of my life. When I was young, the woods behind my house was my playground. My sister and I would spend hours each day climbing trees, building forts, imagining wild scenarios, escaping into the world of a child. I learned the names of wildflowers and trees, and knew every path and hiding place in that wooded area.
Today, I am fortunate to recapture a little of that childhood in a nearby natural treasure. I am a frequent visitor and have spent many decades walking the trails in the best and worst weather Indiana has to offer.
I have seen the White River swollen far beyond its banks, covering the river trail. I have seen blocks of ice pushed onto the river trail as the river froze and swelled over its banks. I have walked along a trail blooming with colorful bluebells, violets, wild geraniums and marsh marigolds each spring, and through what seemed a desolate wasteland in the midst of winter.
I once witnessed a battle in the tree tops at dusk between an owl and a raccoon who was trying to infringe on its nest. I’ve seen woodpeckers of every variety, snakes, raccoons, opossums and black squirrels. The ancient mounds offered an eerie but peaceful aura, especially in the evenings on solitary walks.
For me, this natural treasure, Mounds State Park, is a refuge, a place to reconnect with nature, a place to meditate … but most importantly a place to value! And I am not alone. Through the years, I have come to know (if not by name, but by familiarity) so many like me who find solace, peace, escape, and maybe even their own childhood by trekking through this jewel of nature in Madison County. It’s a beautiful place to have in our midst, and unfortunately we may have taken it for granted.
Now is the time for all of us who value Mounds State Park to stand up and defend against the forces that would destroy it.