Open to everything happy and sadSeeing the good when it’s all going badSeeing the sun when I can’t really seeHoping the sun will at least look at meMoby, “Slipping Away”
Today did not start out well. It’s a holiday and one of my three or four days off for September. I set my alarm for “late” after finishing a movie well after midnight last night, and was planning on a leisurely morning. My new neighbors were up bright and early, though, chatting and walking around the yards in our little strip. I grudging got up at 7:15, not being able to sleep.
I took Zsa Zsa out, and one of the new neighbors’ dogs was in “my” yard doing his thing. ZZ ignored him, and he came over and peed on her. Yes, you read that right. The neighbor came over and apologized, but it meant I had to bathe ZZ right away. I did that, fixed our breakfast and went out the door for a walk at Durand Eastman Park.
I did an article a few years ago—and have probably mentioned it here—on “nature therapy” in Japan. City dwellers there pay exorbitant fees to be bussed with lots of other city dwellers to parks and forests, where they wander around, lean on trees, lie on the ground and just take in the oxygen. A few hours later, refreshed and de-stressed, they board the busses and go back home.
I step onto the trail with Moby on Pandora and put one foot in front of the other. Moby always brings up a range of emotions for me: relaxing, inspiring, nostalgic, motivating, and some of it hits notes in my soul. Today was the first time in weeks I’ve been able to chill and walk under the cool shade of these tall trees. (breathe in)
As Moby’s instrumental rocks a walking beat (breathe in) I stroll past the houses at the beginning of the trail, breakfast in the air. (breathe out) And down the hill into the woods I feel my muscles soften and begin to release some of the stress of last month. (breathe in) Earth and green leaves, and another scent of summer less identifiable. (breathe out)
“Focus on everything better today,” the lyrics whisper. I smile at a couple walking by and a pass a couple expecting a baby. (breathe in) Sunlight in the trees, shadows on the path, smells of daily life in the woods. More people glide by. (breathe out) My body is now out of body—listening to the music, filling my lungs with this freshly produced air, feeling the rhythm of the songs as I step, step, step, step. (breathe in)
There are no red-winged black birds today at the bridge over the wetlands, but the reeds are thick, and I know there is life among them. (breathe out) Up the hill toward the lake, a thin jogger wearing thick glasses and a baseball cap approaches with his hand out to me in a “high five” move. Most passers-by give a nod or a smile, but he was a cyclone of energy. (breathe in) We hit our palms together, and I giggle.
I turn around at the park sign for the return trip (breathe out) and notice everyone heading in the opposite direction is smiling now, all met by the “high five” guy. What a little gift he gave with his encouragement and joy. (breathe in) I meet him again on the bridge. He is clapping and laughing as he runs this time. I put my palms together and motion toward him. (breathe out) “Thank you,” I say as we pass. He hesitates a little, grinning. I don’t think he expected a thank you.
A woman walking a greyhound (breathe in) asks me if I’ve seen a fawn along the path that someone told her about. No, I haven’t, but we chat briefly about the wildlife and greyhounds. I continue up the hill with my music. (breathe out)
I needed this. This has been one of the most difficult years, and it is most certainly—finally—turning around. I am fortunate, (breathe in blessings) but this has not come without pain and trust and faith. I am still processing all that has happened, but by October I should certainly be in a better place mentally, emotionally, and most other “--allys,” too. (breathe out gratitude)
“It’s all a mystery, let it come and let it be,” sings the haunting song by Blackmill in my ears. Up the hill I push the pace. Let it all come at me. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. (breathe in) Life is a balance, an ebb and flow. Patience, faith, determination. I reach the top of the hill, feeling the physical release of the last of the negative energy. (breathe out) Let it be.