Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: My Winter Walk At Losen Slote Creek

It is always a very special day when I find the time to walk the forest trails at Losen Slote Creek in Little Ferry. This enchanted place is one of the last places in the Meadowlands where you can meander woodland trails and maybe best of all it never fails to bring me back to the days growing up in the Meadowlands

Losen Slote Creek is truly a magical urban wilderness full of an amazing diversity of wildlife and native plants in an otherwise jammed packed part of Bergen County. A place where bird lovers can see Spring migrants such as Hooded and Blackburnian Warblers, where Wood and Swainsons Thrush have the run of the forest floor, and the Kingfisher’s rattling call can be heard through the woods.

My late brother Todd and I grew up birding and exploring these woods. The woods of Moonachie and Little Ferry which is one reason why it will always hold a special place in my heart. Losen Slote is a unique Lowland forest habitat where the Muskrat and Red Fox still roam and on special occasions so do I.

This December morning a fresh blanket of snow had fallen overnight and I knew that no place would be more beautiful than Losen Slote Creek come the morning. The snow framed the beautiful Gray Birch trees like a Christmas card and the winding creek gave the image of places more remote and far away.

As always the Fox Sparrows leaped to the tops of the branches to see who infringed on their winter territory and the Carolina Wrens seemed to sing from every corner of the field. This was a visit to wind down, relax and renew my spirit which is what a walk at Losen Slote can do for anyone that chooses to seek its wild sanctuary.

Walking along the forest trails between the tumbled trees from the many years of past storms can give you a feeling of being in a more remote ancient forest, a secluded wild place where Red-tails call overhead, Great-horned owls patrol the night sky and Black-capped chickadees scold your every move. An Urban wilderness, a refuge for wildlife and people as well.

We all need these kind of places, our own special dwelling in nature. A place where we can find the strength to continue on, cleanse our spirit and renew our souls. At times we forget that protecting and preserving places like Losen Slote is just as important to us as it is to wildlife. Birds and Butterflies cannot survive without these places and in the long run neither can we.

Wild places are who we all really are, what we are truly about. Without them in our lives we become lost and distant, a sort of separation anxiety as we put ourselves in danger of becoming less human along the way. Staying connected to nature can restore our kindness and understanding to the world around us, for both other people and nature.

A simple walk at a place like Losen Slote can do this for us if we just allow it to happen. My wish for everyone is that we will all be lucky enough to find our special place of belonging in the natural world.

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