I read a seriously cool book this spring called – 52 Ways to Walk: the Surprising Science of Walking for Wellness and Joy, One Week at a Time by Annabel Streets. Okay – I readily acknowledge that this particular book might not be everyone’s cup of tea/jam/thing – BUT it is most certainly my kind of book. I was riveted. I was inspired. I was intrigued. I found the science in the book to be absorbing and the ideas to be deeply compelling.
Amazing – cool – intriguing!
I quoted from this book to the McFarland men over and over and over again. This happened so often – they were likely thrilled once I finally had read its last paragraph and returned it to the library. It is a very – very good read. I already plan to read it again . . .
Ms. Streets confirms through her extensive research what she and I already knew from personal experience – walking outside changes you for the good. Walking in nature changes your brain in positive ways and helps your body too. The human brain on nature is happier – healthier – fitter – and more likely to stay that way and so is the human body. Walking (especially outside in nature surrounded by God’s great and glorious creation) prevents/eases the symptoms of both heart disease and depression! As well as – diabetes and anxiety. Walking and playing in nature makes you more creative and has been shown to raise kids’ test scores. Walking can help you process emotions. Walking can ease and even heal the back pain caused by all of the sitting we do. (Our sedentary lives are causing us so much pain – suffering and in far too many cases downright killing us.)
I could and have most certainly been known to go on and On and ON and on and On and ON about all of the truly positive reasons to go for a walk in nature as often as you can. I know I evangelize about walking in nature almost as much as I do about Jesus . . . (But nature is just so good for us and God made nature and called it GOOD! God is wise. We should probably try listening to God from time to time?!?!?!? See – I can do both. Jesus and nature: they are GOOD!)
I know when I go for walks in nature something happens in my soul. The best way to describe it is – my soul sings or hums or gently laughs. I relax into myself. I am more content. More myself. My eyes are more open. (Perhaps because I want to see everything around me. Nature is far more beautiful and interesting than a strip mall or a traffic jam on Bardstown Road or anything they are selling at the mall.) I am able to be just a bit more mindful. To give thanks for the blessings of the day – the moment – my life. To see both the little things and sometimes some of the bigger things too.
I am often able to delight in the moment. To be content. To let go. To appreciate beauty as I happen upon it. To listen.
Scientists and researchers tell me why this happens. They study the brains and the bodies of people on nature and on walking. This science-y stuff and research is very cool! And I know I agree with these folks because I feel better in nature. I am happier on a walk in a green space. I smile more. I am delighted and joyful and content. I am both more peaceful and more energized. And one of the best things is – it lasts – the joys and the blessings linger.
After happily mucking around in the river for hours on Saturday afternoon – the McFarland men took me for a walk around a few of the trails at Broadrun Park before we headed home for the day. They went because Jason and Doug the Dog are always happy to go for a walk. Jack and Will went because- well – they have met me!
Seriously – if I had simply walked from the river to the car – my family would have been deeply concerned about my well-being! “What’s wrong with Kerri/Mom looks?!?!?” would most certainly have been exchanged between the McFarland men – if I hadn’t declared that we were going for at least a short walk. I didn’t want to worry them – so we went for a walk!
And what a wonderful walk it was. It was filled with blessings.
It is (finally) spring here in Fern Creek, Kentucky and it is lovely. Really – really outstandingly lovely.
There were delicate wildflowers everywhere I turned. White and yellow and pink and lavender and purple wildflowers.
There were whole fields of wildflowers. This field of wildflowers smelled heavenly! I was mesmerized and delighted and thrilled by its beauty.
The birds are singing. And clearly there are baby birds being born and keeping their parents busy keeping their bellies full.
The grass is green and lush and glossy.
We spotted our first tiger swallowtail butterfly of the season – always exciting. It even landed on me! Seriously – it landed right on me and lingered there for a bit. I was so transfixed that I didn’t even think of trying to take a picture. I just stood very – very still (filled with awe) and took in the beauty of the moment.
The sky and the clouds did cool things too and our sons chatted and chattered and updated us on their lives and their thoughts and their thinking of thinks (even more cool).
I had so many God sightings on Saturday I lost track of all of them! So many blessings – so much joy – so much for which I am truly thankful.
How have you experienced God’s blessings recently? Where have you seen God’s presence lately?