I believe I have mentioned my little one has gotten big enough to go on longer walks with us now. We talk, and for once I’m not staring into my iPhone. Around a creek we make a circuit, simply enjoying nature, as we delight in her mysterious, fresh, earthy smells. Right now is a very precious time because autumn in Dallas is such a fleeting season. The leaves on our many trees are turning red, orange, and yellow. As we walk, the wind will gently blow a few down to earth in front of us, laying them at our feet like precious gems. We have found acorns, pecans, and different types of seeds and pods from trees which I lament I do not know. There is a little bridge we cross over where we like to pause and reflect. I told my little one that creeks were the highways for wildlife, and she was fascinated as I explained to her that they used them to traverse the city, seek shelter, and to eat and drink. I have seen coyotes, owls, raccoons, turtles, songbirds, possums, armadillos, hawks, and tree rats — which frankly are adorable. We have heard the rustle of frisky squirrels chasing each other around the barks of large trees, and have witnessed the majestic sight of a predator bird’s broad wings spread gracefully in ascent. When the creek is high we have heard ducks quacking, and this time of year we have seen the V-shaped flight of wild geese silhouetted against the sunset. Having a child has helped me rediscover slowing down and savoring time … especially outside. We have examined rocks and felt the first chill of fall in the air. It’s a time to tune out and tune in, to feel alive and savor the wonders of Mother Earth. My little one found this leaf on the ground and handed it to me exclaiming, “Mama, look! A heart! I want you to have it.” “Thank you so much!” I said, thinking she already had mine the moment I knew I was carrying her. John Muir, the Scottish-American naturalist and early advocate for the preservation of wilderness in the United States once said, “Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” I hope we all remain close to nature’s heart.