Slow down and walk it off
Vail CO, Colorado
The world looks much different at four miles per hour; far more intricate than we give it credit for. Spring is a magical time of year that evokes awe and inspiration in my heart, especially in the evenings just before dusk.
Last night while strolling home from the grocery store it hit me that we are always in a hurry. Scurrying from one big box (work) to another (home) as fast as our cars will carry us, we emote into little electronic devices plastered to our ears, rather than out into nature. No wonder so many people feel unfulfilled: they don’t take walks!
I can’t express how important walking is to me. I don’t do it for fitness, nor for a tan. I walk so I can sort out my thoughts. The Red Hot Chili Peppers sung it perfectly in “Walkabout”: “a detective of perspective I need to try and get a better eye …” Only in moving relatively slowly outside can I truly allow my mind to wander wherever it pleases. I often leave for a walk in one mood and return completely clear headed and mellowed out.
Breathing in the sweet perfume of spring will do that to anyone. Seductive and sweet, she beckons with one finger for me to go lay in the fresh sprigs of grass poking through last autumn’s dead leaves and twigs. She invites me to look up at the bright green baby leaves of the cottonwood trees, and to listen to the symphony of spring with an open heart. Tulips in all colors bloom as I stroll by, and radiant (and medicinal) dandelion flowers smile up at the sun, reflecting his warmth in their sunny color.
Rodents are busy remodeling their homes for the upcoming seasons, and probably to taunt the passing dogs as well. Mayflies are hatching in incredible numbers, and I passed through a few small clouds of them. They pelt my eyes, fly up my nose, and, much to my dismay, my open mouth.
Out over the lake small, black birds numbering in the hundreds take their turns swooping and diving down to the surface of the water, contending with the fish in the lake for their evening feast of bugs. Yummy.
Above my head and to the west, in the direction the icy wind chilling my bare legs blows, rests folds of gray-blue clouds resembling whipped cream that blot out the sun over Eagle.
Rain is always welcome here.
Spring offers us so much, and so few of us actually take her up on it. She offers us an understanding of not only the cycle of nature, but also the cycle within ourselves.
Living in a seasonally touristed area such as ours, we should understand the transition of spring better than anyone. I hate to call it “mud season” because that only refers to the mountains that bring us our income and grossly overlooks and underestimates the power of spring. Spring signals us to switch into another mode. We rotate the toys in our closets; skis to the back, bikes and boats to the front.
We also rotate something within ourselves. By leaving behind the ski season and warm wool sweaters, we also leave behind the one focus we have all winter and turn our faces, like the dandelion, towards to radiant sun.
It is a freedom of sorts for us. We have spring to ourselves to reflect on the past winter and the things we’ll do differently next time. We can slow down and push the reset button. We contemplate everything in our lives, sifting through the unnecessary emotions as well as equipment.
Spring is a time of letting go, of getting down to the bare minimum. In the words of another great musician, Matisyahu, “if your cup is already full, then it is bound to overflow …” Spring is definitely my favorite season, despite the unsolicited mayfly snacks. I hope to see you on the bike path or around the lake so we can share this special time. You deserve a break!
Dana Jurich of Avon writes a biweekly column for the Daily. Send comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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