On one particular Saturday, the weather was nice and warm, there was no humidity in the air and there was a light cool breeze. Breakfast had been eaten and the dishes had been cleaned up. I thought, “It’s time to take a walk to enjoy the weather.”
And so I did.
Not far from my apartment in the suburbs of St. Paul, there’s a nature center and a walking trail that connects both sides of the Mississippi River from St. Paul to Minneapolis called “The River to River Walk.” I have yet to even make it past the two-mile mark. Today was not the day I was going for speed records either. I wanted to enjoy the warmth of the sunshine throughout my body, the cool, light breeze against my skin, the feeling of exhilaration in pushing my body to exert itself forward. It just was…perfect.
I get on that walking trail and discover the glorious images of wildflowers, Black-Eyed Susans, in full bloom everywhere.
There’s a small pond with green slime growing on the surface with dragonflies hovering near the top. Trees are haphazardly tossed around if they fell down during the previous winter’s snowfall. You’d never know there were busy suburban streets backing up to these beautiful areas of wildflowers or this oasis of nature. I just had to stop. Had to.
Now my fitness walk turned into a stroll where I ambled along snapping photos with my phone’s camera. I felt more like a tourist on a vacation. Meanwhile the dog-walkers, I’m more than certain, thought I was crazy. But at that moment, I didn’t care. It was just too beautiful to pass up. This was better than a bouquet of flowers I could have purchased and would have wilted within a few days. Photos last as do the memories.
Every few steps, I’d look around and there was more beauty to behold. God’s gifts of grace and beauty that He granted to me that day was beyond perfection. It was simply a gift of the Divine and it was a moment where I felt close to Him again, something I had long missed.
My spirituality has been missing, woefully lacking. I can’t pinpoint an exact cause though I believe it has to do with not accepting what has been granted to me with humility. I’ve been focused on what has been taken from me rather than what has been granted to me. Even more important, I haven’t been grateful for what has been granted. This walk now slowed to an amble, a stroll, if that, was the first true connection to the peace of mindfulness I had felt in a long time. It was as if a lifeline to the Divine God was now in place. Seeds were planted for a reawakening; a reawakening of faith. Faith in life. Faith in God, the Divine. Then comes acceptance of what is, not as I want things to be. And in this moment, I am accepting this beauty as a true gift that I am worthy of having.
Once I was finished taking my photos, I began to walk and not just amble again. But this time, I felt good; the best I had felt in a long time. Sure, there was sunlight. There was the cool breeze. It was warm. No humidity at all. I even made the best split time for a 2 and a half mile walk. No, today, I gained a piece of myself back through the wildflowers of summer – a gift that I was not able to receive before this day for one reason. I didn’t feel I deserved it. At that moment in time on that walk, I finally heard the message:
You are worthy of this precious gift!
I felt happy, joyous, free, enriched, alive and aware. My spirit soared. And it was all thanks to being open to being present in the moment and to listening to the message that nature was trying to send.Amble