A Walk in the Woods…

Posted by on Jul 16, 2023 in Blog | 9 comments

This week Rosemary and I managed a short escape down Margaret River way, in part to celebrate my 66th birthday. Most of the family joined us and we were amply accommodated in a cavernous home that could have coped with a party twice our size. The weather was great in a wintery way – cold and sometimes misty, but nothing to stop us carrying out our plans, one of which was to walk the Chimney Trail in Wooditjup National park – a walk suitable for both 5 and 65 year olds (we did it the day before my birthday, when I was younger).

A few things struck me from our walk in the woods.

First, though technology is helpful, it can’t do everything. My first attempt to enter the Chimney Trail in Apple Maps gave me directions to a beautiful park in the Smokey Mountains, Tennessee. Tempting though that was, it was several thousand kilometres too far, so we swopped to Google maps which obliged with a local suggestion. We faithfully followed its instructions, but when it announced that we had arrived at the car park it was obvious that we hadn’t – no matter how often it intoned “You have arrived”. About half a km down the road we found the actual carpark. It was satisfying to think that our powers of observation were not completely surplus to requirements.

Second, five year olds are amazing. My granddaughter Kora-Lee fits this demographic and while I am not sure just what they teach them in pre-primary, it sure is impressive. She kept running up to me and saying, “Grandpa, if an ant bites you, rub this leaf on it and it will numb it.” “Grandpa, if you are hungry, you can eat these leaves. They are safe and very good for you.” “Grandpa, if your skin is dry, rub these leaves on it. They have oils that are good for you.” And so it went on. Wondering if she was correct, I checked with more knowledgeable members of our party and was assured that she was a reliable font of information (certainly more reliable than Google!). Five year olds have an astonishing capacity to soak up information and pass it on to senior citizens. But more than that, I was struck by her ability to see things I overlooked. Because she had been alerted about what to look for, she spotted things I didn’t. Ask me what I saw in the forest and I would say “trees”. Ask her, and she saw medicine and food and skin moisturiser and so much more. There is a parable in that. As part of my own spiritual discipline I am learning to ask myself two questions: “What am I missing that others can see? What am I missing that God can see?” True, if I’ve missed it I clearly can’t answer the question, but I am amazed at how often some quiet reflection brings to mind what I otherwise would have overlooked.

Third, people are so much friendlier when you are walking in the woods. The trail wasn’t busy, but every person we passed said hello. If we had walked by those same folk in one of Perth’s busy shopping malls, we wouldn’t even have made eye contact. It’s not that people in the city are unfriendly, its more that location impacts our style of communication. Remove the artificial barriers imposed by too frenetic a lifestyle, and most people are warm and decent and caring.

Fourth, I much prefer walking in the woods in winter when I don’t have to worry about snakes (and please don’t pass on any horror stories of snakes that strike in winter. I’d prefer to remain in blissful ignorance!)

Fifth, a good walk has ups and downs – some flat terrain, enough uphill to get you panting, some confusing signs to get you thinking (now which way is that actually pointing?), and a few obstacles to overcome. You’ve got it – don’t lament each time you hit some uphill. It keeps life interesting.

Sixth, though not obvious, we were never far from a stream of fresh running water. It was always there, but with the trees and the undergrowth, it was easy to forget. Maybe I’m being imaginative, but it reminded me of John 7:38 “Whoever believes in me… out of their heart will flow rivers of living water.” That living water is not far from the surface, but I do need to stop and to drink deeply from it.

Seventh, walks in the wood come to an end. From there we went on to the Candy Cow at Cowaramup. Delicious – but big mistake. From a nature high to a sugar high. Ah well, such is life…

As always, nice chatting…

Please further the reach of this blog by reposting or forwarding to those who might find this helpful. Reproduce material with acknowledgment of source.


  1. Glad you had such a wonderful time Kinda sorry you didn’t listen to Google and somehow transport to Kentucky—- would have loved to meet up with you. Oh well maybe sometime soon *

    • Well it was very tempting. We remember the great time we had with you and Chris in the Smokey mountains.

  2. Belated Happy Birthday, Brian.

  3. Comment *as always your story telling with such humour! So glad I had the opportunity to be part of an every Sunday dose! Happy Birthday. July is a good month , mine was the 10th now 69

    • Thanks Pam and lovely to hear from you. Happy birthday for the 10th. July is indeed an excellent birthday month.

  4. Dear Brian and Rosemary we are sitting in front of our much needed fireplace in seriously wintry Stellenbosch. And what a rush of memories for us to read your blog and see you and Rosemary!
    We were reminiscing about our life and counting the blessings of being part of the Baptist church in Stellenbosch. How the Lord strethed us and what a great foundation for Trudie and Helene to have grown up in the church family. What fun we had with Porky Percival, Belinda Beautiful and Baggy Bones!
    The two of you had a profound influence on us and we count you as a great blessing. It is so good to read how the Lord has used you and how your sphere of ministry widened.
    We would love to have more news about you and the family.
    Neil and Elzabé Broekmann

    • How wonderful to hear from you. Will email you more of our news and to ask you for yours. The years in Stellenbosch were formative for us and a wonderful oasis of happiness – and the two of you were a key part of that.

  5. We are presently in the Kruger Park, having such good sightings! Trudie and husband Gerhard’s initiative.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.