I step outside with about an hour of daylight to spare. The chill in the air reminds me that winter still has a few days left until it’s officially spring. Map My Walk tells me that I haven’t recorded a walk in a year. I’m okay with that. There have been reasons, but today, I start again.
I head down Cottage Street and am aware that my shoulders are tight, my neck is stiff, and my legs don’t want to move very fast. “That’s okay,” I assure myself. Baby steps.
I walk about a half mile before turning right onto Tapawingo. I like that name and think I should try to find out its story. Maybe another day. As I walk down this street, I see my long shadow and realize it has been a long time since I noticed my shadow. I recognize that my senses are awakening.
I hear so many birdsongs and wish I could identify the birds making them. Without seeing them, I don’t know them. A group of six robins hop around on the grass nearby. But they aren’t the ones singing the evensong.
I hear basketballs bouncing and see a trio of 5th or 6th grade girls headed to the playground. That cheers me. I hope more children will get outside and rediscover play and nature while out of school.
I smell dinners cooking. Someone is grilling tonight. Yum. My mouth waters thinking of steak. I amble on and step aside as a couple passes by. They also step aside. We keep a safe distance with a brief hello.
I smell daffodils and hyacinths, and the pungent scent of freshly spread mulch. And then, the strong, clean smell of someone’s dryer vent drying laundry.
The sights are beautiful:
I love the contrasts I see here:
The spring beauties have closed for the day.
The blues and grays of evening’s approach soften everything around.
When I turn right from Park Street onto Kingsley, I see a flower and hear my father singing:
Little purple pansies touched with yellow gold,
Growing in the corner of the garden old,
They are very tiny, but must try, try, try,
Just one spot to gladden you or I.
I smile as I remember how I loved it when he sang. He had a song for nearly every occasion, and if he didn’t, he made one up. (The forced rhyme and incorrect grammar of this lyric didn’t bother me as a child, but I cringe a little bit now.)
I touch the pine needles and arborvitae and feel the ground under my feet as I notice the calm in my body. I see beauty in new spring growth and in winter’s debris.
My “sensory walk” is a reminder that it is through the body we experience joy. It is through re-entering awareness of all our senses that we can be truly present. It’s amazing how calming and grounding it can be to just get outside, and I’m grateful.