I am proud and honored to share another piece from our Bartlett Arboretum Writing Marathon. Jeff Roper wears many hats and plays many roles, including sitting on the Board of the Kansas Association of Teachers of English, supporting the National Writing Project, and following God’s calling as a Chaplain for the Episcopal Church. This is from one of our ‘sprints’ during the marathon.
“Bartlett Arboretum Revisited”
By Jeff H. Roper
Vicky and I have experienced 32 years of a wonderful shared life together. In September, 2011 Sarah Henry Roper became a new member of the Roper family. Our son Jonathan married Sarah at St. James Episcopal Church. I mention this wedding because a year earlier, in planning for this wedding, Sarah and Jonathan gave strong consideration to getting married at the Bartlett Arboretum. They opted not to get married here, but this place continues to be a beautiful place to be married.
But I have revisited this place for another writing marathon. It is 11am in the morning with a cool northerly breeze keeping our temperature in the sixties. Although it has been in the nineties and dry for much of May, a severe storm with hail swung through south central Kansas last night with a fury. Today, the sky is blue. The oxygenated-air from the pine trees is filling the air that I breathe, refreshing and restoring my soul while feeling the friendly warmth of the sun behind me when it breaks through the occasional small light cloud.
I smell the collective scent of flowers the color of the fresh inside of a watermelon. Their delicate petals hug the ground behind me while gusts of wind rush powerfully through the tall maple trees and lone sycamore tree above. These senses help me to re-set and re-paradigm my view of the world—shifting from the hustle and bustle of moving from point A to B to C as I constantly check my iPhone for emails to relaxing, breathing, settling in, and enjoying the heavenly pleasantry of nature and the fellowship of friends.
Please pardon me for a moment from my writing while I clean the mud with a stick off my tennis shoes. The mud resulted from my dear friend Meg who was getting in touch with her “create new paths in the forest” adventurous style of living.