I’ve been putting some intentional effort to get out and go for a short walk once or twice a week around my neighborhood. A lot of my time is spent writing or on the computer and I just don’t get enough movement and exercise in my day. I went for about a 40 minute walk just a little bit ago. It’s a lovely, sunny, autumn day here in the mountains.
It’s a nice way to develop a deeper connection to one’s neighborhood by going for walks around them. I like to take different routes and go down streets I never had before. Some particular things I enjoyed seeing on my walk today were: a long legged dog rolling around enthusiastically on its back in the dirt, an older man operating what appeared to be a home-made remote control lawn mower, a parade of yellow leaves floating down a nearby stream, and a tree trunk that was twisted around itself.
A couple of years ago I heard about there being a labyrinth at a local church. Mostly I’ve forgotten about it altogether but when it has come to mind it’s one of those I-should-check-that-out-sometime moments. So having some time to myself over the weekend I finally went to check it out.
After a quick internet search I discovered it was only a few blocks from my house. So I grabbed my camera and a water bottle, turned on my ipod, hopped on my bike, and headed over. To my surprise the labyrinth was behind a church that, while I’ve passed by it before, never noticed. It’s funny what one can pass by for so long and never see.
The labyrinth sits next to a lovely community garden full of herbs, flowers, and vegetables and follows (I think) this traditional pattern:
In an attempt to get a little more movement into my days I’ve recently started taking walks. And to add a mindfulness practice element to these walks I’ve taken to using them as an opportunity to get in touch with gratitude. I’ve found that infusing gratitude into my walks also helps me to feel more inspired to get out and do it. It feels less exercise and chore like when I’m intentionally looking around to connect and appreciate my surroundings.
Yesterday I walked to the river, which runs through town. One of the bike paths is just two blocks away and goes all the way to the river, about a 30-40 minute walk from where I live. So I hopped on the bike path and away I went, iPod in tow.
Currently I am house sitting for a good friend of mine for the whole month of September. I’m also taking care of her two dogs, of which I have a daily walking regiment around the neighborhood with. How wonderful it is to get outside and walk and take the time to get in touch with beauty and gratitude! I don’t have dogs myself so I’m not used to walking simply for the sake of walking. I would highly recommend it.
Today I found the first autumn leaf on the ground a few blocks away (see pic above). While we were walking the sky was filled with blues and grays as the sun was popping in and out of the clouds. We passed by incredibly beautiful full leafed green trees, large ink black crows, sweet faced children, and abodes of all different kinds with flowers and herbs and cats and bikes in the yard. I could smell the hint of the rain that had just fallen melting into the earth and roots. And for a few moments I saw a small portion of a rainbow set against the mountains.