• Rachael Sands

A Cold Day at Riverview Park

“….and in that grand moment, the sun shined on us.”

We gathered together in anticipation of adventure and connection on a cold April afternoon. There’s a subtle drizzle misting our eyes on the way to the Visitors Center.

We’re all layered up and prepared for a day outside in this Spring Pittsburgh weather. Smiles abound and conversation flowing, we begin our journey down the stone staircase and into the trees of Riverview Park.

The trail is winding and narrow, the kind of trail you dreamily imagine when you think of hiking in the woods. The sky is grey, but the trees are that vivid green we only get to witness in the spring. One tree in particular, a grand-dad it seems compared to the others, standing strong and regal stops us in our tracks to be admired. And admire we did. We learn from Nancy that the park was once a farm and that all the trees there were planted after becoming the first park in the city of Allegheny (now Pittsburgh). I imagine grand-daddy sycamore was one of the originals. OG SYC.

We wind up, down, across, and around, learning about the old zoo & it’s relocated bear pit, habituated deer and the troubles they cause, and that the red bud tree flowers pink! We approach the grassy hemlock grove just off the trail and before I even announce it, everyone intuitively knows this is the spot we’ll stop for yoga. It invites us into it’s open yet secluded space to stop, breathe, stretch, and connect.

The air around is crisp, so we step onto our yoga mats with sock covered feet and layers intact. It’s funny when you decide to stop and be in just one place in nature. All of a sudden you realize that the world moves whereas in your own movement through the world you hardly notice. We sit, stand, flow, breathe, and experience our bodies opening and closing, yet now we appreciate every dispersing cloud away from the sun, every moment of stillness in the wind. Together, we breathe the same air as the red bud trees, the deer, and the grass beneath our feet. We honor the elements -Earth, Wind, Water, Fire and our deep connection to them.

We settle into meditation under Leslie’s guidance. As our bodies and minds come into stillness, the heat that we may have built starts to diminish and the cool air announces its presence once again. A presence that fosters appreciation for without it, we could not experience the joy of sun beams warming our faces. Leslie encourages us to feel for the fire within, that we all have and can harness; that spark of light & joy that lives in each of us. It grows within and begins to spread to our limbs, and in that grand moment, the sun shined on us. We warmed not only from the inside-out, but the ever-powerful energy source of our Earth decided to nourish us with warmth from the outside-in as well.

Smiles lit the path for our short hike back to the visitor’s center. Community built. Nature appreciated. Protection inspired.

“Sunday was really special.” -nature loving attendee

#SierraClub #air #seasonal #adventure #spring #meditation #sandsflow #yoga #nature #elements #trails #hiking #earth

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