Now that the season has turned toward late autumn’s beneficent shades and shadows, it’s time to go walking.
Yes, walking. Walking in honor of autumn, walking in celebration of the new season come ’round again, walking to find yourself anew in the quiet spaces of your mind. Depending on the scope of your ambition, you may decide to walk around your neighborhood—or beyond—to see what’s been going on lately while you’ve been hiding from all the relentless summer heat.
Take the time to walk purposefully, not just schlepp along. Wear real walking shoes or cross-trainers and walk slowly, even leisurely; this isn’t a race. Remember, the goal is to discover whatever the autumn landscape provides.
Did you know that in Victorian times, walkers typically got right down on the ground to investigate the minutest things they came upon, such as ant colonies and leaf patterns? Really.
Leave your cell phone at home, or carry it (turned off) only for an emergency. Remember, you’re seeking out the restorative quiet spaces in your mind, which you’ll never find if you’re constantly plugged into the ever-present cacophony of the modern world. Take your portable media player if you must, but be aware that your playlist may be at odds with the serenity you’re seeking.
Although walking certainly has exercise benefits, you can find so much more: connecting with, drawing from, breathing in the natural world, which has always been humanity’s wellspring of inspiration, relaxation, and well-being.
Take joy in looking at the way the autumn sun backlights the native prairie grasses.
Observe how oaks, having dropped their acorns for squirrels to find and bury, now seem to relax, gathering strength from the cooling earth for over-wintering. Be inspired by those Victorians, and stoop to examine the changing colors of fallen autumn leaves.
And, knowing it’ll all look different tomorrow, go walking again, discovering the primal source of your own quiet spaces anew.
Copy by Kat Schneider. Photography by Dianne Waltner.