This past Valentines Day weekend Sandi and I visited our kids who live in Cary, NC to have dinner with them in celebration of Sandi’s 60th birthday. It is only a 2 1/2 hour drive from Boone and is a welcome change in our daily routine. We affectionately call it “getting off the mountain”. Boone is not a backwoods town by any means since it is home to the ever growing Appalachian State University. But it is a lot more rural than it is urban—and that’s not a bad thing—just a bit boring sometimes. As you know, I like my Barnes and Noble’s and the plethora of used book stores and thrift shops that seem to thrive in larger communities.
One thing about Cary that I really, really like is the availability of walking trails and wilderness areas that are in and around the Cary area. There is even a walking/biking trail that runs from where our daughter Jessika lives right past where our son Joseph resides. It then rambles on for several miles past his house and the fancy park/play area that adjoins it.
Suffice it to say that there is a lot to do when we go for a visit.
But that is not what started this thought process in the first place—rather is was the two long walks Sandi and I took while we were there and the resulting peace of mind these walks seemed to provide.
I remember when Sandi and I first meet 34 years ago walking was one of the activities that seemed to keep our relationship fresh and in order. We’d walk through neighborhoods and wilderness areas with about the same amount of satisfaction and enjoyment. Of course walking provides a backdrop for conversation and is actually a fine way to stay in shape—mentally as well as physically.
After we moved to North Carolina in 1978 and before our children were born, we almost lived in the woods that surrounded our house. The two or three hundred acres we lived in the middle of had been logged years before and the logging trails that wove throughout the woods were a treasure trove of adventure. As we were mostly self-employed, we had plenty of time for adventure walks on a once or twice daily basis. We had our favorite walks but often would tackle new trails that we would pass by. You would not be far off in saying that these walks were almost artistic in their impact on our lives. We’d always return home in better shape mentally than when we had begun—as art is therapeutic, so were our walking adventures.
We would often find rocks and shells and pieces of nature that when brought home would pictorially adorn the walls and shelves of our mountain home.
But life does take it’s twists and turns and even though Sandi and I still take walks almost every evening in good weather, these walks are mostly around our neighborhood and the paved roads that run a mile or two this way and that. We still live in what would be considered the country, but our normal walks are not close to the time we spent last weekend in the middle of a several hundred acre park where the only sounds you heard were the leaves rustling, the birds chirping and your feet scuffing the well worn trails.
I have come to conclude that these types of walks allow time for your mind to clear itself of cobwebs and any idle thoughts of impatience, dissatisfaction and/or low self-esteem that we seem to deal with in our hectic day to day existence. In other words, these types of walks bring rest to our wandering souls and help us become re-charged and energized. Our creative juices can begin to run again. Nature walks simply seem to wash the palette of our minds clean—ready to accept another days thoughts and images.
Why we don’t do more of it, one can only wonder.
Anyway, on the road trip back to Boone, I caught myself being challenged creatively and was actually excited about the prospect of what the next few days might present. I had been filled up by being emptied out—seems the oxymoron.
Nevertheless, I will continue to walk and talk with my wife and encourage you to do the same—with whoever is available in your life. Spring is coming and the possibilities are somewhat endless. And that’s as good as it gets.