Hidden Grove

After a couple of months in Dayton, I’m still trying to wrap my head around Ohio. Both the Pacific Northwest and the South seem to have distinct characters, but I don’t quite understand the aesthetic of the Midwest.

Dayton definitely has a couple of things going for it, though. One is a fantastic local beer scene. The other is its impressive system of parks. Every place we’ve visited that falls under the Five Rivers Metropark system is charming and well-kept, and they all feel unique enough to keep you eager to explore.

Boyfriend and I recently explored Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark where we were intrigued by a large clump of bush sitting in a field.

As we approached, we realized to our great delight that it wasn’t a random grouping of brush, but a dense double hedge of some sort of cedar. The trees were arranged into two concentric circles, creating an interior ring and a semi-enclosed walkway around its perimeter.

White-throated sparrows peeped and flitted back and forth through the branches as I walked the ring, once to count the outer trees, then again to count the inner. I don’t remember how many trees there were, but I do remember how safe and comfortable I felt as I let myself be lulled into a slow, steady walking stupor. Eyes soft focus. Lips soft smile.

This would be a great place to howl at the moon, I mused. When we have our own property someday, I want a hidden grove just like this.

It’s still COVID, and not a great time to leave behind all the friends I care about (again). Moving is stressful, and I frequently feel overwhelmed by the competing pressures of working on house projects, unpacking, and trying to figure out what I want to do with the next phase of my life after graduation. It’s these types of explorations and surprises, these small moments of unexpected connection that make life feel bearable.