Walk With Myself
I recently had the privilege of going out of town for four days. Some of my trip was structured, but each day I had three to four hours of unstructured time.
I quietly gasped at the sound of those words. I’ll be honest, I like structure, it allows me to accomplish a lot and gives a rhythm to my days which tend to be full. Once I got over the shock, I began to think about what I wanted to do.
Unstructured time means I don’t need to be anywhere at anytime until dinner, and it also means I am only responsible for me. I saw a quote once that said “What are you going to do with your one wild and precious life?” My life? What about the next three to four hours? Life in small, savory bites seems to work better for me.
The first thing I did was go to my room and grab my camera. I have not had any opportunities for picture taking since fall. For me, photography and hiking go hand and hand. The weather was perfect for March: cloudless blue skies, blinding sunshine, 45 degrees, and barely any wind. I took a long hike and explored several trails. It was so warm that I placed my hands in the snow like a child, leaving behind the imprint side by side. The snowball I held, melting, felt good in my hands, creating droplets of water as I hiked along.
Fresh air and the sun on my face made me feel so calm, so peaceful. That peaceful feeling gave way to the awareness of how tired I truly was. For the last month or so I have been working from eight in the morning to nine, or later, at night. Add to the mix a full social schedule plus not creating enough alone time for me, equals not practicing enough self care.
As I walked along I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful everything was. The sun on the snow made it look like an inviting blanket of diamonds I wanted to lay down on. I took my time walking and taking pictures.
Using my macro lens allows me to get up close and personal with nature, capturing all of its amazing details - even in winter. Seeds left behind on pods hanging on until spring, little tiny buds starting to show everywhere, White and River birch tree trunks peeling off. I spy deer tracks, and other little critter feet, along with the unmistakable marking of a beaver tail drag in the snow. Birds singing, ducks and geese flying overhead, all tell tale signs of spring waking up.
What was so wonderful about my long hike was the realization I had left my cell phone in my room and I didn’t panic or care. It was on silent and I would not be checking it. The only time I connected was via text to say good morning and goodnight to my husband. No checking social media, no checking email, and no interest in doing either. I was with me and nature.
After my hike I headed back to my room and decided to take a 20 minute nap. I felt refreshed when I woke up and headed outside to sit in the sun, capture some vitamin D, and to continue to feel that warmth on my face.
Every night before bed I went outside and looked up at the sky. It was covered in millions and millions of stars. This was star gazing at its finest. It filled me with the realization of how we are here on this little planet with thousands of galaxies beyond our seeing, knowing and understanding. It made me realize how small I am in this big vast world. I saw two shooting stars and the tail end of a third one. There were so many stars there was hardly any darkened sky. It was the most stars I have ever seen. It felt endless. It was magical.
Each night I slept deeply, and each morning I slept until almost seven o’clock instead of my usual five thirty alarm wake-up. I’d get up, make coffee, journal, have breakfast, and then take a quick hike before structured time began. As I walked, I listened to the birds singing and I felt comforted by their songs. The sight of them made me smile.
With spring making her way through these last remaining days of snow my intention is to continue to create more room for walking with myself.