1 November, 2009. On Sunday we took a trip to the Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay, Long Island. We had two full cars of people, many of whom had never come on these hiking trips before.
One of the girls who joined in last minute actually had her birthday that day. We were quite honoured that she chose to celebrate it by coming hiking with us. Before we left we all went in to our outdoor meditation garden and sat down for a few minutes to meditate, then we were ready to head out.
We made it to the Arboretum very quickly, within half an hour. It is a very large place and there are many things to see. It has both outdoor gardens and indoor greenhouses as well as lawns and a mansion. The fall colors were quite striking, especially on the Japanese maples and the Dahlia garden was also in full bloom. Some of the indoor greenhouses included some very exotic and beautiful plants.
Near the end of our trip we finally found the little cafe as well where some of us had hot butternut squash soup and hot apple cider to warm us up. They also had a gift shop with many different types of little birds that sing their own song - which were also a lot of fun.
One of the best parts was when we came upon a huge Japanese maple tree in full color. It was a bit like a weeping willow in that you could actually go under it, like into a little hut, and be surrounded on all sides by the red and orange leaves. The branches were also at just the right height so that we could sit on them or even lie down on them. We had a lot of fun there laughing together.
Then, perhaps my favorite part was at the end of the day. Half the group (one car load) had already left because one of the girls had to get back to work. The rest of us went to another outdoor garden which we hadn't yet explored that day. The sun was getting low in the sky so the light was particularly beautiful and created an atmosphere that was full of peace. At some point we spontaneously decided to have a little meditation by the trees and just to imagine that we also had roots grounding us and branches constantly reaching and opening up towards the Heavens. It was really a perfect way to end the day.