I had an annual physical this past week. After lab work and conversation with my doctor, I now have a renewed commitment to go for walks more often. One of the challenges that I face in taking walks is that my neighborhood does not have much to offer in the way of natural spaces to walk in. Wide roads, concrete sidewalks, and tiny fiefdoms where each neighbor makes their own decisions about the small plot of land around their houses. Most of them pick lawns. I do live near some truly epic wild spaces if I just get in my car and drive for twenty minutes or more. But the “get in my car and drive for twenty minutes” adds 40 minutes to going for a walk. It also adds a gas expense. Both of which become hurdles that I have to clear in order to get myself walking. Of course the walk being boring is also a hurdle. So I’m trying to find ways to engage my brain with the available scenery.
I examine the landscaping of my neighbors as I walk past. I try to identify plants. lately I’m looking at lawns to notice how many of my neighbors have a variety of “weeds” growing in their lawns that aren’t grass. I’m looking for encouragement and attractive options for my own lawn. Which I’d like to be not grass. Looking at landscaping does help, but if I keep walking the same loops, I keep passing the same houses. The potential for boredom exists again.
This latest walk I decided to approach the walk like I was a young child. If I saw an interesting small object, I collected it. Then I arranged my finds for photography.
Seeking out small reasons for photography feels nice. It is an excuse to find tiny beautiful things.
So for now my walks are not just exercise for my body, but they are also an exercise in finding beauty and joy inside the neighborhood I already have. Learning to appreciate what is here instead of wish for it to be different. Building contentment one step at a time as I walk the blocks I’ve walked before.