The weather has finally broken here in Northeast Ohio (for a moment anyway…) and despite a sore throat, I decided it might do me some good to enjoy the gorgeous weather outside. Who can say no to bright sunlight beaming through the window after so many overcast, rainy, snowy, bone-chilling days? And when it’s fifty degrees in January on the shores of Lake Erie, one must take advantage of it. That just doesn’t happen.
So that’s what I did today. I hopped on my new bike, made a pit stop at the grocery store so my throat would quit shouting at me, and rode as fast as I could into the park.
Berea is located in the heart of the Cleveland Metroparks, a system of natural parks with hundreds of miles of trails for biking, hiking, horseback riding, jogging… I think you get the point. I grew up traipsing around the Metroparks just a short distance from Berea, and I’ve been dying to explore the reservations around here. Each one holds something unique. For instance, The Viaduct is a tiny little park in my hometown, through which the inaptly named Tinker’s Creek flows. I say inaptly named because the term Creek means “a stream smaller than a river.” It lends itself to visions of small waterways that can be easily forded or hopped over and in which children enjoy playing. That is not Tinker’s Creek. It seems more like a full-blown river, complete with a powerful waterfall and a viaduct for the railroad (hence the name of the park). While many parks have viaducts, since the railroad has always been a big deal in this part of the state, waterfalls only cascade in a select few.
Where was I? Oh, right, riding as fast as possible into the park.
I followed the main trail for about three miles, passing through marshes and stands of trees, under overpasses and over bridges. While I really wanted to get off the beaten (paved, in this case) path, the combination of mud and not-mountain-bike bike didn’t seem to allow for it. So I simply enjoyed the wind rushing through my hair as I coasted along. Naturally, I wasn’t alone in my enjoyment. Dozens of people with dogs and mp3 players walked, jogged, and biked alongside me, taking in the delightful springy day.
Now the point to this post, aside from gushing over the wonders of the Metroparks and the amazingness of the weather is really what I found on my way back, though I had already passed it. My legs being angry because they haven’t had to ride a bike for six miles in quite some time, I decided to take a break and have a snack. In searching for a suitable place to lock my bike up and rest, I found something that made my heart stop, my jaw drop, and my brain scream YES!!
At the end of a little offshoot from the main trail is this most magnificent little observation tower. It looks out over a lake and waves of cattails, and seems to be a great place for contemplating and brainstorming. Though the sounds of the rest of the world can still be heard– cars zooming down the parkway, people talking as they jog and walk by, the drone of airplanes coming and going from Cleveland Hopkins– it seems to sit outside of all that in some strange way, and that makes it a perfect little niche in the world for me to write.
There is one downside to this delightful structure, though. It’s outside. Which means it can only be utilized in weather that is uncharacteristic of the climate I live in. Which means sunny and warm, as opposed to grey and cold. But that’s alright. I do my best writing outside on a sunny day. So I can be patient.
I think that’s all I wanted to say… My adrenaline was pumping when I decided to write this post, so if it seems sort of rambling, that’s why.
Where’s your favorite spot to write?
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