Light and mood

This week, I went hiking in the evening with my night light. My walks took me around the Heritage Loop in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area. I leave from my backyard and walk down the Bruce Trail section that leads to Sherman Falls, in the direction away from the Falls. After navigating a hilly trail veined with exposed tree roots, I end up at another waterfall, Canterbury Falls, where I often stop to stretch. This means that I am one kilometre into my walk.

In this little video, you see Canterbury Falls after the rain, so the flow is something of a roaring torrent. Normally it is a more tranquil falls.

Canterbury Falls after a day of rain. (iPhone 11 Max Pro)

Following this, I wen my way through the forest, by the cliff edge. The trail is narrow, enough for one through this pass, with a sloping green wall of underbrush to my left and a cliff with 30 metre drop to my right. I often see cyclist zooming through here and I fear for their safety, but thankfully I have never seen or heard of an accident.

This week, I mostly experienced the forest during what photographers call the Golden Hour, that time just before sunset when the sun’s light takes on a lovely yellow or even ochre hue. The forest’s green canopy glows and shimmers at this time of the evening, giving the air a magical, almost cinematic quality.

(iPhone 11 Max Pro)

I spent the walk thinking about how light changes our mood and affects our feelings. There are days when, after spending a long at time at the computer or just reading under artificial light, I can literally feel the sunlight striking my eyes and my skin and sending pulses of energy through my body. It’s a strange feeling, but common, I suspect.

Having time to be in the sunlight and noticing how it changes throughout the day is a gift, I find. It elevates the spirit and opens your mind to possibility. It’s a reminder that time is always flowing, but that because of the Earth’s rotation, our experience of time is beautifully cyclical when we attune ourselves to nature. There is a serene comfort and excitement in knowing that tomorrow’s walk through the same path will be very similar in the big ways, but very different in subtle ways — the sun will set a few minutes later, I will see different animals and notice new plants and flowers that have popped up.

It is in the familiarity of the similarity and the repetition of the walk that we actually notice the symphony of little differences in nature. What a wonderful thing to discover.

Walking the trail costs one very little – some time, energy and perhaps the price of a sturdy pair of running or trail shoes — and it brings you enormous benefit.

(iPhone 11 Max pro)

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