Need to take a breather from the election news stories? Taking a mindful walk and really paying attention to your surroundings is a great way to relieve stress. It is also a way to stay grounded and not be swept away by all the thoughts and worries churning in your head.
Tune in to the sights, sounds, and smells, around you. How does the breeze, the sunlight, or the raindrops make you feel? What is the rhythm your body makes as your arms swing and your feet tramp? What is your Autumn song?
We have been taking walks around our new neighborhood. The air is cooler and much less humid than Houston’s climate. Almost every day here the wind blows, usually soft puffs, but sometimes strong blasts of air. It has been delightful to see all the trees changing their colors to hues of orange, yellow and red. We crunch and shush through the fallen leaf bodies and acorn hulls as we explore our subdivision. Neighbors’ porches celebrate autumn with colorful gourds and grinning pumpkins.
People offer friendly waves and “hellos” and I look forward to getting to know my new neighbors better. For those of you out walking this week, remember to wave and smile (mask-wearers can smile with your eyes!) to those you meet. The love and kindness we share can bring us closer to neighbors, be they red or blue.
In her poem “Song for Autumn” the brilliant poet Mary Oliver takes a walk and invites us to imagine the dreams of leaves.
Song for Autumn
Don’t you imagine the leaves dream now
how comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of the air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don’t you think
the trees, especially those with
mossy hollows, are beginning to look for
the birds that will come—six, a dozen—to sleep
inside their bodies? And don’t you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
stiffens and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its long blue shadows. The wind wags
its many tails. And in the evening
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.