A(nother) Healing Walk In Nature
In the early afternoon, I set out for a walk. I don’t have a plan this time but my legs are already conditioned to walk the usual streets that lead me to my favourite park.
I decide that today is an offline day.
I am glued to screens five days a week for work and currently, most of my personal connections can only be maintained virtually, too. Sometimes that gets overwhelming.
I weigh up in my mind whether I’m using this as an excuse. My unconscious could be trying to avoid something that I’m not yet ready to cope with. Maybe. Either way, I am grateful for the break.
Around the first corner, I am greeted by a blossoming tree. It looks so beautiful against the marbled blue and white sky. I admire it for a couple of minutes and welcome the opportunity to take some deep breaths.
As I stand there, I realise how tired I am. I’m not even sure whether that word is expressive enough for how I really feel. Maybe ‘drained’ or ‘exhausted’ would be a better fit.
I continue walking but my legs are not as fast as they usually are and my body feels heavy as I set one foot in front of the other. I am slowly but steadily climbing up a street that has a soft incline. When I reach the top, I spot my reward: a bench!
The bench feels like a little sanctuary and I sit down to rest my legs. The sun shines on my face and I take deep breaths to fill my lungs with the chilly air. I am not far from the main street but the bench is tucked away slightly so that the traffic noises don’t feel bothersome.
Normally, I am a goal-oriented walker; I walk because I want to get places. Sometimes I even run up a flight of stairs, just so I get to the top quicker.
My grandma always used to ask me if I could walk a teeny bit slower so she could keep up.
Today, I understand what she had always meant.
Today, I discover the beauty of walking slowly. I find peace in not having a destination and with not needing to be anywhere.
Today, I allow my determined and ambitious side to rest. I fully focus on how my legs feel on the concrete and how they move me forward.
Today, I hear an inner mantra forming in my head reminding me that wherever I go, I have already arrived.
Out of habit, my feet take me down the right streets. Turn left, walk straight, turn right, right again. I notice more flowering as I take my time to look at the trees and bushes that protect the houses behind from nosy pedestrians.
Just before I get to the park entrance, I spot another bench. It makes my heart jump with joy. The sun is at a perfect angle and I welcome another opportunity to sit down. I focus on my breath. In. Out. Deep. Slow.
I observe the passing of children on small bicycles, of four-legged fluffballs, couples holding hands and groups of friends recognisable by heartfelt laughter.
I know that my favourite park is waiting for me just around the next corner but for once I am not in a rush to get there. There is an entire day ahead of me.
I close my eyes and feel my heart fill with gratitude for the sun warming me, for my body walking me and for the bench holding me. What a magical day.
I have recently discovered the calming effect it has on me when writing about my walking experiences. If you‘re interested, feel free to check out my first healing walk in nature — about bold flowers and fragile hearts.