January 20, 2013 § 1 Comment
About two and a half years ago I decided to go for a walk. On a beautiful late-summer morning I walked for about three miles, a loop that went from my house through various neighborhoods in my town and along a golf course and playing fields. I was alone and it was early morning, so peaceful and quiet. I loved it so much that I decided to do the same walk the next day, again two days later and eventually up to 6 days a week, rain, shine or freezing cold. Always the same loop, rarely the same hour of the day but most often alone.
It has not been boring even once. I think, look, hear, breathe. I give myself time to do these basic activities, which I would forget to do when caught up in the fast flow of a normal busy life.
Along that same path, I have noticed the change of season, not with my calendar or the school schedule, but with the birds’ and insects’ behavior, the plants and wildlife of the pond by the road, and of course the same flowers, bushes and trees I see day after day.
I have often lost sense of time, deep in my thoughts, either surprised to be back at my house so soon or to have felt out of touch for so long.
I have processed major events and minor annoyances. I have cried without control about my father dying, I have subdued my worries, detangled or loosened complicated knots in the fabric of my family’s dynamics, and breathed through impatience and frustration.
I have paused and smiled at a beautiful sky, shivered with joy under a brief dowpour in July, wondered about a bird’s call, felt drunk with deep breaths of crystalline arctic air and marveled over the beauty of an old elm, leafless against a white sky.
I have dreamed about traveling, starting a new life after my youngest child leaves the house, or what it will be like to be a grandmother one day. I have fantasized about my kids’ exploits, future successes, amazing feats, even my daughters’ wedding dresses — because I could do so in private with boundless imagination and unlimited possibilities.
I have daydreamed.
I have discovered that, for a moment, I can step out of a life where my senses get so overstimulated they become numb, where my soul is fed only by shallow sensations, into one that fulfills my needs for meaning, wonder, truth, creativity and grace.
At first I thought it was a luxury to have time for a walk. Then I discovered it’s a necessity to make time for this walk.