leaf pile

The paths at the Arboretum are lined with carpets woven from thousands of these beauties.

Saturday we celebrated our seventeenth wedding anniversary. No big parties, no cake, no expensive fancy restaurant dinners (although those all sound wonderful). This year, we opted to do something we all could enjoy – taking advantage a beautiful fall day in the Midwest and taking a long hike through the beautiful woods of the Morton Arboretum.

We first visited the Arboretum many years ago, when our firstborn was new to walking and we were looking for fun places to go with a small child (I think everyone goes through this phase, don’t they? Museums, fun fairs – just about anything to get an antsy toddler out of your house, and hair, for a while). In those early years we mostly stuck to the fantastic Children’s Garden with a small walk around the pond outside of the Visitor’s Center. Now that the critters are older, we avoid that section altogether and mostly stick to the beautiful and uncrowded East Side trails. With many woods to walk through (including my absolute favorite Spruce Plot), it’s easy to forget your everyday worries and concerns and just enjoy some temporary peacefulness and being. It’s a great place for renewal on many levels and well worth the trip.

We walked for a good three miles on Saturday, taking time to enjoy the amazing colors and each other’s company. Taking into the account the significance of the date, I was reminded that a marriage can be very much like a good hike – it requires stamina, some sort of plan or goal, regular periods for rest, continued patience, a willingness to appreciate the unexpected and a keen eye for the small beautiful details that can make all the difference. Most of all, a good marriage requires hard work. It’s not always easy – it’s not always fun. But as long as you have a dependable and committed partner who makes you feel loved all along the path, it’s completely and utterly worth it.


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