For all my life, going on long walks-- be they in nature or down rambling, twisting side streets-- has been one of my favourite activities. There's nothing quite like exploring a new ravine, discovering a hidden pathway, or happening upon a back alleyway filled with secreted-away treasures like interesting antique cars and hand-built birdhouses to add joy and pizazz to one's days.
Its not just that these jaunts are a great way to exercise, de-stress, and have quiet time to think; for me to go out on a walk in either nature or an urban setting is to intimately connect with the Earth as my natural home. It is to remember that I am but a small dancer in a dance so much bigger than my own life.
There is something about my feet skimming over fresh earth-ground that sends my spirit running to Gaia, Earth Mother, to receive her ancient embrace. My spirit calms, becomes more in balance with life's harmony. It recognizes the breathtaking privilege it is to walk alongside Creation as it dances out its destiny in the form of tiny plants, gently chirping baby birds, and the creek's labour- moan as she breaks free from Winter Ice, giving birth to Early Spring. It is to walk in the hallowed corners of the Creator's reach.
Just half a block away is the entrance to Mill Creek, a beautiful little creek running through a gorgeous ravine. How I love that place! I harbour many happy memories from every season of the year in that beloved creek, from snowy nighttime walks, bundled like the abominable snow woman against a minus 35 degree chill to warm summer afternoons spent watching Samamtha laugh with glee as she splashed and played in it's summer waters.
Even in recent years as my health deteriorated, going for little walks still played a special role in my life. That is until two and a half months ago (when because of a knee injury whose slow recovery is complicated by my chronic health issues) I lost the ability to walk more than a few steps. Since then, I cannot walk across my kitchen, much less go on a nature walk. Yes, I've treasured a special time each day when I wheel/ hobble to my front steps, and then sink down and soak in the late winter sun. But, as spring approaches, I've felt a deep yearning to return to walking.
While an actual walk is still a ways away, now I can go on rolls! Now that I have Sophia, as I've named my trusty new (borrowed) power wheelchair, when I'm up to it I can go for little rides around the neighborhood. After so many weeks essentially trapped in my home, to be able to leave my home independently for a little ride around the block is life changing!
Yesterday morning was the first time I took Sophia out on my own, the first time since January 25th where I was the one who decided when I left my home and where I went instead of having someone else push me in the wheelchair down the street.
It was a particularly sunny morning, with sunshine highlighting every little leaf, twig, hedge, and nook and cranny. After spending so much time stranded in my home, I found myself near tears at the ordinary beauty of my street.
Riding down my street to the entrance into the creek (a cute little spot I've named the boardwalk) I parked Sophia carefully, before standing up and taking a few steps to the boardwalk's entrance. Even though I couldn't walk down the steps into the ravine. just standing there on the edge looking down was an amazing gift. I could hear nearby a flock of waxwings, as well as the pattering of a woodpecker, and some sort of warbler bird I couldn't identify.
The.sun brightly shone on my face. The whispering of Gaia, hibernating these past few months, returned, hugging my heart.
It was a moment of pure joy, eclipsed only by the day I married Eric and the day we met Sammie. Freedom is a wonderful thing. All I could do was bow my heart and say thank you.
(Photos used throughout this post were all taken on yesterday's morning ride).