Scenes from a Morning Walk

Every morning, sometime between 6:30 and 7, I depart whichever home is serving as my current residence: hiking shoes on feet, pedometer at my hip. If I’m going to walk 490 miles across Spain in September, it’s time to get practicing.

20150619_070543_HDR

100 steps from the house . . .

This morning, I walked down to a fog-covered Schroon Lake with Michael and my father, up past the boathouse, and then parted ways with them: they headed to Stewart’s for the morning coffee klatsch, I went off with a goal to walk more miles than I did yesterday.

Schroon Lake Boathouse

Schroon Lake Boathouse

Yesterday, I got distracted. Taking pictures. So this morning I did not slip my phone/camera into the pocket of my fleece, and was thus able to reach my goal.

In case you missed it, let me repeat: I had to wear fleece this morning. It’s June 20th. It was 47 degrees.

It certainly looks like summer here.

They grey and white landscapes have been replaced by more colorful ones.

They greys and whites of winter have been replaced by more colorful hues.

 

Unimpeded views of a frozen lake are no more.

Unimpeded views of a frozen lake are no more.

Perhaps the universe is just trying to help me out. Cool mornings are better for walking than warm, muggy ones. Or maybe I’m just asking too much. After all, summer doesn’t officially begin until tomorrow.

These little ones weren't born in time to see snow. Lucky them.

These little ones weren’t born in time to see last winter’s snow. Lucky ducks (or geese, as it were).

 

 

 

Noticing

This morning, I looked at the map of the island trying to find a new route to take on my walk.  “I’ve covered quite a bit of this area already,” I said to Lois.

“Well, go around the opposite way,” she told me.  She explained that when she went to trade shows she would go around the convention center one direction, then turn around and go back the way she came.  “It’s a whole different place when you go the other direction.”

This reminded me of one of my fellow RA’s in college.  He would do rounds of his building to check for underage drinking and other mayhem.  “Then, I turn around and go back the way I came.”  He explained that once the students saw him the first time, they thought they were safe for at least an hour.  When he turned around?  That’s when he caught most of them.

So I took that advice and went the other direction. And “caught” some good stuff…

From a distance, I thought this was the best piece of driftwood I’d ever seen.  Upon closer inspection, I realized those spikes are not wood at all, but it was still a fun thing to find.

image

This looked like an odd sort of Christmas tree buried in the sand.  I was then struck by the orange color of its dried leaves.  Reminded me of Fall back home. Imagine that…the color of Fall leaves in New York right here on the beach of South Carolina in February!  (I’m still learning the intricacies of my camera – so the orange is not as dazzling here as it was in person.)

image

I looked at smaller things, too.  Like the grey stripes on this tiny shell.

image

Stacey found an intact horseshoe crab shell for her son the other day while on her run.  (Yes, it made for an awkward thing to carry on a run.)  So when I saw this one, I thought of my niece Ava.  Would she like a horseshoe crab shell?  Then I noticed it was kicked in, so I rejected it.

image

Sitting next to the dented one was this smaller guy.  I thought only a few seconds about it and laughed.  I could hear my sister (Ava’s mom) saying, “Umm…Becky….do you see the POINTS on this thing?”  Ava’s only three.  Probably not a good choice.

image

My eye caught lots of colors.  Even the sand – who knew it had so many shades?

Look at that purple!  Who knew it’s not just Crayola that makes that shade of purple?  The yellow and purple together remind me of art class in school – aren’t they complimentary on the color wheel?

image

Upon closer inspection of another yellow piece, I noticed that it wasn’t yellow all the way through – the yellow was a coating over a brown branch.  Hmph.  Who knew?

My meditation teacher told me this would happen eventually- that the practice of meditation causes you to start to notice things throughout your day.

I don’t intentionally head out to see what’s around.  It just naturally happens now.  A fly touched down on the pages of my journal yesterday as I was writing.  Instead of swatting him away, I studied his orange eyes – observed how big they were relative to the rest of his body.  Then, I noticed his wings – thinner than paper and nearly translucent.  Was he looking at me, too?  Noticing?  After he flew away, I realized that was the longest time I’d ever seen a fly sit still.

“We are blessed,” said Lynne yesterday as we sat around the table on the screened in porch.  From our seats, the ocean monopolized our senses: the sight and sound of the water rolling over the shore, the smell of the air, and that oh-so-good feeling you get when you’re within a stone’s throw of the sea.

Indeed, Lynne was correct.  I was reminded of that on my walk this morning.  I don’t have to be at the ocean with good friends to realize this.  But it sure is nice.  So nice, in fact, that we’ve decided to stay an extra three days:)

Serendipity

“I forgot a bag again,” I thought this morning as I set off on my morning walk.  The beer can glistening in the morning sun reminded me that I wanted to bring a bag on my walk to collect the cans I see along the way.  I counted twenty the other day.

By the time I got to the Ledford Chapel boat ramp (my halfway point), I decided I could at least pick up two cans and carry them back to the house.  So I grabbed the Bud Light Lime can (really?  Who drinks beer mixed with lime juice??), turned it over to dump the remaining beer out, then walked down to the lake to rinse it.  On my way, I picked up another can and rinsed that one out, too.

As I started my walk back, I noticed a woman come down her driveway with two dogs in tow.  She turned onto the road and headed the same direction I was going.  By the time I got to her driveway, a man was coming down with another dog.  We greeted each other and he said, “Thanks for picking up those cans.”  I explained that I keep intending to bring a bag but can’t seem to remember.  “We forget, too.  So we bring them to staging areas along the way and pick them up later in our walk.”  I told him I’d been thinking of doing the same thing.

I made friends with his dog, then we chatted as we continued walking together.

A scene from my morning walk

We caught up to his wife and she and I continued on while he stayed back with the slower dog.

“Do you live around here?” she asked.

“I’m living temporarily on Chatuge Lane,” I said. “But I walk this road every day since I’m getting ready to walk the Camino.”

“Oh!  I’ve heard about that!” she said.  We talked about my pedometer, my plans, where I’d be staying, what I’d bring.

“No more than twelve pounds,” I said.

“That can be a lot of weight after a while,” she said.

“Well, that’s my max.  The good news is I don’t have to bring a tent of anything like that because there are places to stay along the way.  But I might bring a sleeping mat in case I get to a hostel too late and have to sleep on the floor.”

“You know, I have a thin mat I was going to bring to the thrift store to donate today.  Would that be something you’d be interested in?”

“Oh, yes!” I said.  “That would be great!”

She offered to leave it on a mailbox along my route and I could pick it up tomorrow.  At the end of Ledford Chapel Road, we parted ways.  I thanked her again and commented on how I love the serendipity of life.  She agreed.

A View from the steps of Ledford Chapel

Putting Yourself First

Tonight I’m teaching a class at my local library.  It’s the second in a series given by the Clutter Clearing Companion (that’s me!).

The first was last month.  The topic was paring down your stock of books.  The timing was perfect as the library was having a book sale two weeks later.  We had about a dozen attendees and, based on what they told me after the class and what they wrote in their evaluations, they learned a lot.

Tonight’s topic is clothing.  Specifically, I’m focusing on closets.  I will confess that prior to 7AM this morning I was not prepared.  I woke up and knew that I had two things to accomplish before 8AM: my morning walk and preparing for my class.  In the past, I would have scrapped the walk in favor of doing class preparations.  But I know how much better my days are when I start them with a walk, so I took off – and accomplished both tasks, in less time!

How did I do this?  As I was walking, I started teaching the class in my head – literally going through everything I would say.  I should explain that “not being prepared” for my class was not really true.  I had all the ideas in my head, I just hadn’t put them down on paper yet.  But I find that if I talk through it first I get 1) a dry run done and 2) it’s easier to put my outline on paper.

So upon my return from my walk, I had a good portion of my talk outlined in my head.  So I opened up my computer and in 10 minutes had my outline down.  Then, I wrote this blog post.  And it’s not even 8AM yet!

Here’s the thing:  I put myself first this morning.  I knew how important my walk was, and I didn’t let other things I needed to get done stop me from doing it.  And in putting myself first, I inadvertently got my other tasks accomplished!  Oh how I love life’s lessons in action:)