A Walk in the Woods

by Pam Godwin

“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty.  She’s ninety-three today and we don’t know where the hell she is.”~ Ellen DeGeneres

There is a nature preserve and a trail beyond the backyard and past the deer fence of my weekend getaway house. I look out the kitchen window every time I visit and often see people in the distance hiking through the trail and wonder why I have not, in the 6 years I’ve owned this home, taken a walk on this trail.  It just seems ridiculous that I am always doing something else—emptying the dishwasher, cleaning out the garage, raking the leaves, running errands with the kids, making excuses… and wonder why I’ve never explored what is, literally, right in my own backyard.

There is also a calendar hanging on the bulletin board in the same kitchen filled with dates and appointments. Next to my bag on the kitchen counter is my “52” list filled with to-dos.  Get in touch with nature and take a walk in the woods or go for a hike is not on the list.  I’m not sure why. But I decide it is now time to put it on that calendar.

I finished up what I had to do and asked the kids to come along.  They said no, of course, but my husband joined me.  I put on my boots, left my cell phone behind, grabbed a camera and took a walk in the woods. I’m sure you know how the rest goes…

The walk was invigorating.  I carefully followed the trail heads, looked at some of the interesting trees and plants that I never knew grew around this area, listened to the sounds of nature.  It was a gorgeous, crisp, chilly day and the perfect opportunity to be alone with my thoughts, a chance to share some time with my husband, and an opportunity to reap the physical benefits of some good old-fashioned simple exercise.

The trail was deep enough into the woods to “get away from it all” for a bit but close enough to my house that I didn’t feel like I had to hike far off on some remote trek.  I knew if I tried really hard, I could faintly hear civilization from beyond or if I squinted I might even see the outline of my house way off in the distance but I closed my mind to those thoughts.

I’m pretty sure if it wasn’t for our 52 project, I wouldn’t have taken this hike when I did. Maybe someday I would have, but not now.  Something mundane or routine would have gotten in the way of it. Putting a date on the calendar and committing did the trick. The best thing that came from this?  I’ve since walked it three more times. What was I ever waiting for?

Last week, our guest blogger, Jami, wrote about her adventures and getting unstuck as a single woman.  She went to exotic lands that are far from my reach right now. My local hike took me just miles away without getting on a plane or even in a car.  You do what you can to get unstuck.

I feel a little like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz saying this, but sometimes you really don’t need to look any further than your own backyard.

This week’s “Getting Unstuck” Sticky Notes:

  • Look in your own backyard. You don’t always need to look far to find something new. It could be right in front (or in this case, in back) of you. If you can get out of your own backyard, however, here are some great places to hike, courtesy of the Huffington Post.
  • Breathe in the air. Really.
  • A hike is good for the head as well as the heart. Enjoy your surroundings and being in your thoughts (or thinking about nothing at all) but alternate walking slowly and then picking up the pace at times. Might as well get some cardio in while you can.
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categoryPosted: 04/20/11 11:40 PM

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