I don’t view exercise as a pleasure. There I said it. I have to tease myself into exercising and this involves lies of a sort. Namely, a walk is a ‘nature adventure’. The only part of this that is problematic is our neighborhood. It’s 1 part Deliverance back country, 1 part upscale pre-crash housing developments, and 1 part NASCAR race track. It’s a bit difficult to relax when you are either being followed by some guy in overalls with a plug of chew or being forced off the side of the road by a Camero going 70 in a 25 zone. Imagine then my delight when I discovered a nature preserve directly behind the library. It has a wide paved path that meanders alongside a wetlands overgrown with cat tails and blackberry bushes like something out of a fairy tale- wild, green and inviting but with vicious thorns that will shred your skin.
Deadly foliage aside this is now one of my favorite get-aways. To keep the this-is-not-exercise illusion fresh I don’t time myself, wear a pedometer or check my heart rate. Thankfully, I have long legs and a fairly brisk stride so I must be getting some benefit but I try not to make it my focus. I move, breathe deeply, and sometimes…walk with my eyes closed. Weird, I know, but I’m prone to visual over-stimulation (which explains my addiction to the Real Housewives franchise but not why I can’t get my ass off the couch). There’s ALWAYS something to see somewhere which is great for my photography but not for relieving stress. I may also find a spot, stop and let my other senses take over, listening to the water, frogs, and birds, picking up the sweet-sour smell of wet leaves. Eyes closed allows the world to move through me, my mind to slow, and a welcome peace to descend.
When my eyes are open I’m entranced. Here are some photos with my thoughts. More may follow as the seasons or my route changes.
It's mid-October! Nothing is blooming now, everyone is shedding their leaves but here is this GIFT right next to the path. Makes me smile every time I go by. I always stop and inhale the lovely fragrance.
I realize this guy could be a species that kills plants and trees but he's so cuutttteee. He's got lots of pals so it does impinge on the walking with my eyes closed because it would be very bad karma to splat one.
Absolutely no idea what this tree is so if you know please comment. I just loved its spiky feathery look.
I love this burnt out, worn away tree stump. Looks like it could be the portal to some place magical.
My grown-up woman-walking-alone prudence is sorely tested by paths leading to who knows where. I want to explore. Still could happen but not yet.
I'm in a Portland suburb NOT Napa Valley but here they are: grapes. Growing in someone's backyard. Maybe I'm easily impressed but I think it's cool.
A blue heron under the bridge at the end of my walk. Like a sentinel keeping watch.
Different afternoon and now the heron is in a tree- no small feat for a bird of it's size.
Do you have a health routine? What works for you?