When I got up yesterday, it was cloudy and misty. Much, I suspect, like a day on the Dingle Peninsula, so I decided it would be a perfect training day. I loaded my back pack and headed to town. Several people have commented that they would never be able to walk it. 112 miles in 10 days? Why walk? Why not drive?
My answers to that are myriad; however, while walking yesterday at our local city park, I really tried to analyze what I like about walking.
You see, I have a brain that works constantly. It only shuts down when I have exhausted myself to the point that I am ready to go to sleep. Sometimes, though, it doesn’t even shut down then. Being a creative person and a problem solver is both a blessing and a curse. But something happens when I walk. I only analyzed this during yesterday’s walk, as heretofore it has escaped my notice.
My mind was working overtime as I stepped onto the track. The litany of things running through my mind included what to pack for Ireland, buying more wool hiking socks, when would my rain jacket come in, etc…you get the picture. It took about 2 miles for that to all fall away, and I was left with my entire focus on walking. Call it presence, call it being in the moment. Whatever you call it, walking in nature is one of the few things that does this for me.
Even better if there is water nearby. All of my thoughts and wonderings fade away, and I am left with noticing the beauty around me; the way Crooked Creek follows the Eastern boundary of the park, the way a big red fox squirrel lets me walk within five feet of him, the bluebirds that land on the trail ahead, then flit away upon my approach, the honeysuckle growing on the fence, its sweet aroma so heady, I have to stop and pick a handful of blossoms to sip the nectar, like I once did as a child.
Maybe that’s it. When we grow up, our minds become so consumed with the mundane responsibilities that we lose sight of how to just…be.
Walking does that for me. It quiets my mind. Once I settled in to my walk, I realized that all I had to do was walk. Just walk. And so, going to Ireland is one of those big “bucket list” things for me. I really, really want to soak in every moment, every view, every nuance of the Irish countryside. I want to pluck the blossom of Ireland and drink in all of the sweetness I am certain I will find there. So I will walk.