For a week I’ve made excuses. ‘It’s too cold – this is not an excuse,’ I told myself, ‘it’s a fact.’ And it was cold. Minus 4 and even -5 degrees Celsius IS cold! But today my brain and body are telling me they want to get outside. ‘It’s only -2 degrees this morning,’ I mutter, ‘a walk will do you good.’
The upside of a freezing night is the brilliant day that usually follows. So, while my brain and body are chatting about the need for a walk, my eyes are drawn to the sun’s rays bouncing off the window in the entrance, and my ears are tuned in to the exuberant twittering of a family of wrens flitting through the ferns outside the kitchen. Then I am wrapping the gray scarf around my neck, shoving both arms into the thigh length polo fleece jacket and pulling on the cute beanie and mittens I bought when we were in Ireland.
Frost-touched gravel crunches underfoot, three of the alpacas look across at me, momentarily interrupting their chewing. The other two ignore me. A neighbor flies out of his drive, going too fast as he usually does. He waves and smiles and I wave and smile in return as I pick up the pace.
I am choosing to be mindful today, to enjoy every minute of this walk. I’m getting good at bringing my attention back to what I’m doing in the present moment. So I notice that even the leafless trees sparkle in the sunshine, I see the patches of frost shining on the dark road in time to avoid them. I breathe deeply of the fresh morning air and I feel it doing me good!
I am reminded that we are all connected, and it's good.
I hear the school bus before I see it. The driver and I wave and smile as it whizzes past. We’re old friends although we’ve never met – greeting each other like this for a couple of years must mean something! Neighbours wave as they flash by on their way to work or to drop the children off at school. I am reminded that we are all connected and it’s good. The horse on the corner hangs his head over the fence snuffling as I walk by. So I greet him and say ‘hello’ to my favourite tree on the other side of the road. I am convinced it flourishes because I talk to it whenever I pass by! A couple of golfers are teeing off and they wave before settling into serious golfing business.
Being outside, in nature makes us feel happy.
Research tells us how good it is to get outside, to be in nature; how it stimulates production of neurotransmitters that even out our mood and make us feel happy. I don’t need the research though; I know it, experience it right now. I feel calm, peaceful and focused.
I sit by a warm fire with my cup of Monk Pear tea, savouring the aroma, the flavor, the feel of the mug in my hands, and I am grateful that today I didn't make an excuse; I went for a walk.