Check out Point Lookout this month
I once heard a comedian compare life to a bus ride.
It made quite an impression on me, as I was much younger then, and couldn’t relate yet.
In his view, during our youth we’re riding the local bus, moseying along each street and making lots of stops. We’re taking our time and seeing the sights. Time passes slowly and each occasion leaves a distinct impression upon us.
By middle age, however, we’ve switched buses and are now riding the express bus. Each year comes and goes before you know it. Time feels like it’s passing in an instant.
I think I’ve finally reached the express bus-stage of life, and I wish I could slow things down a bit. I’m not sure how to do that for everyone, but for me, getting outside and in touch with nature seems to help.
It doesn’t much matter what I’m doing: walking, biking, gardening, kayaking watching the birds. Contemplating the lilies of the field. Stopping to smell the roses. Feeling the sunshine on my face and breeze at my back. Getting in touch with nature is my way to feel more centered, and when I get outside with my family, I feel more connected to them, too.
I took my own advice this past weekend and drove down to Point Lookout with the family. We invited some friends who just moved into the area to join us and share with them what makes this part of Maryland so special.
I visit the park frequently and often talk to people who have lived in Southern Maryland for
years, maybe even their whole lives, who have never visited the park before. They are always glad they took the time to drive down and check it out.
As I’m sure you know, there’s been a lot of rain recently, so it was a treat to have a dry weekend without a cloud in the sky. The temperature was what I’d characterize as perfect at about 75 degrees, and when there’s none of that Southern Maryland humidity, the air can really feel refreshing and clean.
The ticket stub from the attendant booth at the entrance always prints “Another beautiful day in Southern Maryland” across the receipt, but it was an accurate statement for certain that day.
Point Lookout is a top destination if you like birds or butterflies. One of the highlights of our trip was seeing a bird I’d never seen before, the blue-throated black warbler.
We were eating lunch on one of the picnic tables in the beach area when my daughter spied some small black birds examining the bark on a tree trunk. They were about the size of a goldfinch or chickadee and traversed the tree trunk like a nuthatch. I quickly used the Merlin Bird ID app on my phone to identify it. It’s migration time for a lot of birds and other creatures, and Point Lookout is a place where you can see a lot of transients come
We also spent a good amount of time examining each tuft of goldenrod growing alongside the park trails for butterflies. This time of year is perfect for seeing monarchs and cloudless sulphurs, but the kaleidescope of buckeyes stole the show this visit.
The buckeye is a medium-sized brown, orange and white butterfly with eyespots on each wing. They are common butterflies, and just like the popular monarch, journey southward as the weather cools to overwinter in warmer locales. The clear bright sunlight of a low humidity day painted quite a picture, with butterflies of many colors dancing around the goldenrod and honeysuckle patches in the park.
October is the perfect month to visit Point Lookout State Park. The beaches aren’t crowded, the weather is just right for spending the day outside, but the variety of birds and butterflies is the best reason of all.
A history lesson given at Point Lookout
Another highlight of the visit was observing the historical interpreters on hand at the Civil War fort doing demonstrations and answering questions, portraying everyday life at Point Lookout during the 1860s.
My daughters and I settled quickly under a tent dedicated to women’s roles at Point Lookout during the Civil War and got into a robust conversation about the women who served in the hospital.