Our 2023 UCF New Year’s Nature Hike was quite special this year. Falling on a Sunday, New Year’s Day 2023 afforded the opportunity to link the hike with the Sunday morning worship service.
At that service, entitled “Beginning Again,” members of the congregation were encouraged to write on a slip of paper about anything from 2022 that they wished to leave behind. The paper was a special kind that dissolves in water, and the slips were placed into a glass vessel filled with water. At the end of the service, the water from that vessel was transferred to a holly-decorated bucket that appeared again at the afternoon nature hike.
The 17 nature hikers participated in a brief pre-hike service at one of the shelters at the beach access area in Fort Macon State Park, adding additional slips of soluble paper to the bucket. They then carried the bucket to the beach, where Caroline Dominguez pitched its contents into the Atlantic Ocean. The weather was picture-perfect, and the entire group opted to hike along the beach, with most making the round-trip trek to the breakwater at Fort Macon and back to the beach access area. It was a lovely day for reflecting on the year past and the year ahead, but mostly a time to enjoy beach, surf, sun, and pleasant breeze, while engaging in warm conversation with UCF friends.