Remember to Walk Slowly

Have you ever noticed how differently you see a place depending on how you’re moving?

Driving, biking, running, walking, and walking slowly.

When I drive through town, I tend to see the other cars and the blurred shapes of buildings and trees. So intent on arriving, I tend not to really see anything along the way.

When I bike through town, I tend to see the people on the sidewalk, and I get a bit more of a look at the structures. Since I’m exercising, I’m focused on spinning my legs and propelling the bike ever faster.

When I go out on a run through town, it takes me a fair bit longer to move about, and I tend to take in the scenery much more. Again, I’m exercising, so the latest pop tune is blaring into my ears, drowning out the world around me.

Then there is walking. When I walk through town, I notice things on the ground and in the sky, the types of trees and buildings, the way people are dressed and what they are doing. It tends to be a calmer experience; if I really had to be somewhere quickly, I would’ve driven.

But then there is walking slowly. . . .

I notice that cloud shaped like a large dog, and the frost-bitten rose down by my knee, withering and dying.

I see the expressions on the faces of those sitting next to coffeeshop windows—I see their happiness, their sadness, their anxiety, their confusion—and I tend to offer a warm ‘hello there’ when I can.

I take stock of how much sunlight we have left in the day, and I notice the absence of the background noise the bugs and birds usually make during summer.

I hear the crunching of the leafs under my boots.

I feel the crisp autumn breeze and the cold dry air.

Many of us feel that we need to adventure off to far away exotic locations to rest, recharge, and find beauty, but that’s not what I’ve found. I’ve found that there is tremendous beauty in the everyday environments of our normal lives. I’ve found that common suburban neighborhoods have tremendous stories to tell. Documenting those stories, exploring the ordinary everyday terrain of our lives, slowly, mindfully, with purpose and intention, can be quite restful and recharging. And it’s right there, free of charge, waiting for all of us.

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