Earth Days gets me thinking about how vital it is for me to be outside enjoying my surroundings. It is part of what sustains, rejuvenates and calms me and that was especially true in the months following my divorce.
I’ve lived in Colorado for almost nine years and feel well grounded in my small town of Niwot. The summers get too hot for my English body but the winters, believe it or not are pretty mild and the sun invariable shines. Niwot is in the front-range foothills – within two minutes walk of my front door, I’m on the Niwot Loop with a panoramic view of the mountains.
I try to walk the Loop at least twice a week. In winter, that’s not always possible but with my yaktraxs I can walk on snow and ice. If it’s cold, I wait until mid-day when it’s warmed up a bit. In summer, the heat usually means I’m walking in the evening or early morning.
I like to walk east first because then when I’m on the return section, I’m facing west and looking at the mountains. The vista changes constantly – some days the mountains are towering, dominating, majestic. Other days, they’re invisible behind thick clouds and fog. Some days, the skies remind of the Renaissance paintings with shafts of light shining from the heavens on a scene below. Some times the mountains look very green, other times they’re pink. A few years ago, I was having the concrete floor in my basement “painted” and the contractor asked me what color I wanted. I said,”Pink, like the mountains are, in the morning when the sun first hits them.” He smiled, “I know exactly what you mean.”
When I take in the mountains, the weight from my shoulders is lifted, I stand taller, I breathe deeper, my mind clears and my brain calms. It helps me balance my life, keeping competing responsibilities in perspective. I may get more of a workout on my elliptical but I never feel as at one with myself after that. This is my meditation – my walking meditation.
In my Honoring these women part 2 post I recognized Page Lambert and in particular the lesson she taught me about gaining back a sense of belonging and feeling rooted after divorce. It’s “learning to listen to the land and how it speaks to you,” Page told me. “It can be as simple as walking to the closest open space you can find and just sitting and listening and observing and repeating that. Going to that same place day after day so you get a sense of what it’s like at dusk or dawn.” And the land does speak to me – there are days when it calls to me and I know I just have to be outside to breathe it all in. I know now too not to ignore those calls.
My question to you is how does nature help to sustain you? Do you have a favorite activity that revitalizes you? Do you have a quiet contemplative place? Is there a park or a beach that calls to you?