Since the onset of Spring, uncooperative weather, health issues and scheduling snafus have prevented R.J. and I from taking a walk in the early evening. I miss that time each day when we can ignore our responsibilities for awhile, cover an unending list of pleasurable topics, and even get some need exercise - although that isn't the main reason for the stroll.
It's a habit we began decades ago when we still lived in Florida. In that tropical atmosphere, we would wait until sundown, and protect ourselves with insect repellent in order to ignore the humidity and the mosquitoes. The years we spent in a Virginia valley afforded us views of mountain peaks, rippling creek beds and a neighborhood of classic architecture as we meandered the historic streets hand in hand. And here in our Chicago suburb, we sometimes have to don a jacket, even in the summer, when cool winds come from the North.
The best thing about the evening walk is the opportunity to focus on what's all around us: trees that shade us and lean across the streets, gardens of flowers and shrubs that lend color to a background of green, bunnies hopping across the warm grass, birds flitting from tree to tree, and the activities and sounds of kids playing in their yards. In the busyness of daytime, all this ordinary splendor is often unseen as I rush past in the car on the way to work or shopping or errands. Taking it all in, and enjoying it with my best friend in life, forces me to pause and appreciate a simple joy.
Sometimes our dogs, Molly and Shayla, join us, straining at their leads at first until they realize that the purpose of this outing is a relaxing one. Then, we have to pause numerous times as they investigate a patch of grass or a tree trunk that attracts their noses. Those walks take longer, but we don't mind.
From my study window, I watch people passing during the day. There are groups of children, loaded down with backpacks on their way to school, commuters hurrying to catch their train to the City, and others taking their dogs for their daily exercise. It makes me sad to see most of them with cell phones in hand or headsets in their ears. They can't seem to divorce themselves from technology and take in what's around them.
It's even more important to do that these days. We all need moments of quiet contemplation, to just relax without any intrusion by all the devices that seek to demand our attention. I wish I could urge everyone to schedule time for an evening walk. I know my husband and I can't wait to get back at it. Trust me, it redirects your priorities - for the better, I think.