This week I started walking around the neighborhood when I get home from work. The motivation is multidimensional — a desire to exercise — weight maintenance — meditation — stress-relief — a daily dose of Vitamin D.
I tried running a few months ago. I only lasted a few days.
I hope a walking habit will be easier to maintain. It hurts the joints less.
There’s a route I take along the neighborhood streets, looping north, west, south, east, hopscotching between sunshine and leafy shade. From start to finish, it’s a bit over a mile and takes just 20 minutes.
Twenty minutes are better than zero.
The day job is spent sitting in a windowless office. Weather patterns come and go. I don’t notice, fingers glued to the keyboard, eyes pinned to the monitor. People stop by, wanting, needing, asking, demanding. They don’t bring sunshine with them.
I need sunshine. We all need sunshine.
That daily dose of Vitamin D is a wonderful pick-me-up after a long day. And, if you pay attention, you may even see things to make you think.
The first day, thoughts were simple and one-track: Ooh. Look at me. I’m walking. Isn’t it nice out? Doesn’t the sun feel wonderful? Warm and toasty. I love warm and toasty. It’s like a hug. And then my mind quieted. I listened to my breath, rhythmic and unlabored; my feet pat, patting the pavement; song birds tweeting their twitter conversation. Peaceful.
The second day, yesterday, was different.
Thoughts came rapid fire.
Telegraphed in staccato time.
Hammers echoing thawk thawk as a new house rises from the overgrown littered lot on the corner, the whole frame completed since I left for work in the morning. I wonder what it will look like. I want to explore the skeleton and guess which room is which.
Two ducks peek around a red brick pedestal at the foot of a driveway. They nuzzle each other and eye me sideways as I stride past, turning their backs in a poor attempt at furtiveness. I think they’re spies.
I’m not alone out here. The prairie path is filled with walkers, runners, bicyclers. All ages, with dog, without. But I’m not on the prairie path. I’m on the street. I like the street better.
I turn south, onto the street named after my father. I grin at the thought and laugh aloud. People in their front yards look up; my clipped bark bounces off the houses. I like the idea some person named this street after my Dad, a man who has never lived in this town, in this state. It seems fitting that my father has a street named after him for all the good work he did for over 50 years for communities in another state. I think about how he finally retired this week. And I’m proud of his service.
I play leapfrog with the UPS truck.
Slender tween girls stride down the street in emerald-green t-shirts over short black shorts, red water bottles in left hands, barely there hips twitching side to side. And I know they’re thinking, “Look at us. Aren’t we fabulous!” And they are.
Colorful blue and green pinwheels spin in a front yard long overdue for mowing.
Two young girls in cotton sundresses hop and skip and jump and play on a bed of bottle green grass. The first sags down, staring at the pale blue sky, arms and legs creating lawn angels. Her friend comes down beside her. Two angels, flying. I smile. I feel the cool cool grass tickle my cheek, memories of childhood razor fresh. My smile grows. The first girl turns to look. I think, “We’re connected. We’re all connected. She heard my memories.” Her face stoic, she waves. I wave back. I wish I could lay there with them, dreaming of nothing and everything all at once.
There’s a tiny green Peace dove on the grey asphalt ahead of me. When I reach it, it’s a maple leaf. I’d rather it hadn’t changed and had stayed a dove. Perspective tells you things that proximity misses.
Squirrels play in trees and on power lines. Summer is coming. I’m home.
What comes into your mind when you let your mind float free?