A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and me went on a forest walk in the hills of the Neckar Valley near Heidelberg. It was a grey weekend with unpredictable weather and the sky was covered with thick clouds, but the day had called for some fresh air and so a little nature escape was sorely needed.
After a short train ride, we found ourselves in Hirschhorn, a small town right next to the river, and on our way to the forest, we stumbled upon the town’s old castle. From its hilltop position, the castle overlooked the river that was flowing peacefully through the valley and we weren’t the only ones enjoying the view:
Those goats know how to live!
After one last look over the river, we left the castle behind us and started to head up the slope of the mountain. Before we knew it, we were in a veritable fairytale forest:
The ground was covered in a thick blanket of freshly fallen leaves that crunched under our boots, while the branches of the trees formed an almost cathedral-like canopy over our heads and the lack of light only seemed to intensify the mystical effect of the forest. I had to pinch myself to remember that I hadn't actually walked into one of Grimm's Tales and was still only twenty minutes away from the city, but it grew increasingly hard to believe.
We had chosen a really lucky point of time for our forest outing, because the foliage was just so incredibly colorful and vibrant. I loved seeing just how much the colors of the forest had changed since our last walks through the Neckar Valley in spring and summer and already started crossing my fingers for a snowy wonderland in winter!
For some reasons - maybe I'm just getting old? - I have never been as aware of how different the seasons of the year make me feel as I have this year. In spring, I felt invigorated by the signs of new life and the mild weather, during summer I cherished the long evenings and the abundance of local produce and now that we're well on our way to winter I find myself appreciating slowing down again and bundling up in chunky knits and blanket scarfs with a cup of my favorite tea.
All the seasons are wonderful in their own way - and taking the time to notice just what makes each one so precious has really done wonders for my state of mind! And for me, there is really no place like nature to see all the changes of life take place.
At the sight our of our final destination in the distance, the magic of the forest seemed to break again - almost as if seeing these signs of life outside of our own bubble reminded us to step back into the real world. And who knows: Maybe we did walk through another world for a few minutes. After all, our mind and imagination know no limitations.