This morning, I rode my bicycle along the St. Tammany Trace, a path that I can access near my home. The 31-mile path is a former rail line turned into a recreational trail. I pedaled along a few miles for exercise in the brief coolness of the morning.

wildflower I was enveloped by the sights and sounds of nature as the trail is mostly surrounded by a ribbon of woodlands. One can forget, at least for a moment, that just beyond eyesight are neighborhoods and businesses, peopled by all sorts of souls. The Trace gives one the illusion that St. Tammany Parish is mostly a forested oasis nestled against the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. It is not. It’s a bustling, wealthy enclave near the city of New Orleans with only small pockets of wooded areas here and there.

But, for a little less than an hour, I rode the asphalt trail blackberriesthat lays alongside pine and oak, ferns and vines. Blackberry bushes had hints of red and ripening berries here and there. The smell of honeysuckle permeated the air.

I guided my bike back to the house. I parked my bike. All too soon, the ride was over

My phone rang, and I answered.

The reality is that I don’t live alone in the woods. I live near a bustling state highway, within a neighborhood, on the edge of a town, near the Trace. Yet for a moment, I rode along in nature, where cares slipped away.