Taking a walk is my therapy. Nine years ago, a dog came into my life that forces me out the door several times a day. I don’t usually mind, although it would be nice if she let me have a cup of coffee first. Every walk is an adventure. It’s a chance to start the day on a positive note, to get fresh air, and my body moving. We head out the door with my camera in my pocket, wondering what we will see.
Currently I live at the Grand Canyon. Across the road from me is the Kaibab Forest. There are trails made by humans for walking, and ones smoothed by the elk and the mule deer. We set out on an exploration every day. My dog often finds things I would overlook. Bones of an animal interest her, or squirrels running through the leaves. She has even leapt in the air a few times, hoping to catch a bird. Or, we stop to dig for moles. She is rarely successful, but while she is occupied, I can enjoy my surroundings. Sometimes she will begin tracking a scent and I follow. At times I will find the animal prints that put her on the move, or a rabbit will dart out of the undergrowth and I know what we have been chasing.
I enjoy the light filtering through the trees. The way the sun lights up a bush captures my attention. The tops of a common weed are suddenly lit up making them beautiful in a way you had never noticed before. I observe the sun between the trees and the long shadows cast by the tree trunks. Everything can change in a moment with a cloud passing in front of the sun.
The shape of trees fascinates me, especially the windswept twisted trunks. My imagination begins forming them into objects, or people. Recently it snowed and the layer of snow on top of logs that had been uprooted captured my attention. Trees that have fallen and are leaning against the tree next to them provide a different perspective. I’ll start singing the words to, “Lean on Me.” Fortunately for nature, I sing it in my head, not out loud.
Listening to the wind traveling through the trees or across a field, and feeling the coolness on your face provides a sense of newness. Watching the tops of tall grass bend over, and leaves rustling, while you hear the sound is refreshing and enlivens your senses. Going back into a warm house with rosy cheeks is a sensation everyone should experience.
Each time I head out the door and go for a walk I feel alive. I am excited and ready for an experience. A coyote running into the woods the other day was my enjoyment. The tracks made by an elk stop me in my tracks. The sun, the clouds, the dark skies of an approaching storm, all of nature holds beauty and should be admired.