Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Walk in the woods

Today I went for a five mile walk. I wished it was a run, but alas my body is not doing what I tell it to do. So, with that understanding, I left home for a walk. Dr. Okorn said that exercise would help cure what ails me, and I am desperate enough to try it!

As usual, I wanted to be purposeful, so I took the dog (of course) and an empty backpack, with the intention of picking up some groceries. I made sure that the most recent podcasts were downloaded, and I plugged my iPod phones into my ears, and I was off.

All the way to Lincoln Park, I didn't think of much, just listened to This American Life.

I walked along the shore of the beach, and looked for orcas (I didn't see any). I turned up the path at the end of the park, and walked back through the woods.

Halfway through the park, I realized what I was doing. I was being completely mindless on my walk. I held my purpose - must get exercise! - in hand, but I was completely, utterly wasting the opportunity. I unplugged my iPod, and listened. I heard many different birdsongs. I could occassionally hear a little lapping wave at the shore. Breezes moved branches or leaves. I saw dozens of kinds of wildflowers (including a gorgeous dwarf lupine plant). I sat on a bench, and found a notebook inside a plastic bag. The notebook read, "Look behind the bench and slightly to the right, in the forked fir tree, for an eagles' nest. Please record what the eagles are doing." I looked, I paced the tree in question, but didn't see eagles. I sat. I observed some more. I heard a terrible screeching squacking sound, and 100 feet or so away I saw a bald eagle at the top of a tree, shrieking at a crow. A man in nylon track pants swished by me on his walk, talking on his cellphone, oblivious.

I spent perhaps a half hour on that little bench, breathing in some fresh air, thinking my own thoughts. It is probably the best thing I've done this week.

I did continue the walk home, stopping by the grocery store for milk, flour, and toothpaste; I did get my exercise; I did wear out Shep. But that half hour restored me. I plan to do that with more frequency....maybe that is really the cure for what ails me.

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