I recently discovered a that there is a boardwalk leading through some wetlands near my home, and it definitely beats the hell out of walking around the neighborhood, so I’ve been back several times. The boardwalk itself seems well-maintained but still occasionally scary; at this time of year, the entire thing is bone-dry, so there’s less danger of slipping and falling, but sections of it warp, twist, and sway underfoot owing the the foam floats underneath the planks. Even a few steps in, it’s easy to forget that you’re a stone’s throw away from a busy road. It feels like you’re in nature with a capital N. Nature. On a lucky day, there aren’t many other people walking around, the better to hear the rustling of the wind through the grasses, the chirping of birds, the creaking of the boardwalk beneath your feet, and the quick slither of a snake. When other people are stomping through, jogging with their dogs, and having loud discussions, everything scatters away from the boardwalk. But on those quiet days, or even if you hang back to widen the gap between you and everyone else, the wetlands gets back to business. I’ve seen a few hawks, tons of snakes, two geese and their goslings, butterflies, dragonflies, and once, a nutria. My favorite is watching the marsh wrens alight from cattail to cattail, scattering trails of seed hairs in their wake.