I can’t remember the last time I was able to take a full hour & escape to the park by myself. Today, I was able to do just that, and those 60 minutes were utter bliss. Somehow the stars & planets aligned perfectly, and I found myself without excuse.
It’s early July and the weather is finally showing signs of summer, 73 degrees, sunshine and a cloudless blue sky. At first I assumed the park must be closed, and the staff had simply forgotten to close the front gate across the long gravel driveway entrance. The parking lot, usually filled with cars, was bare. The fields and picnic tables, usually bustling with children, families, picnics, and animals, were silent. As though the park was mine alone. The silence and space mine for the taking. Choosing my picnic table wisely, close enough to the looming red barn to eavesdrop on its feathered inhabitants but just out of reach of its massive shadow.
Closing my eyes for just a moment, I realized that I’d taken the empty parking lot for granted, I wasn’t alone after all, the park was overflowing with it’s residents and their own daily conversations. The rustle of the wind through the leaves of the foliage, the incessant clucking of the hens, so like an elderly Jewish woman, anxiously pushing her own life lessons onto anyone who’ll listen, always busy and moving about. The proud crow of the rooster, a college athlete long past his prime but still insistent on announcing his presence for all to hear. The eager duck, testing the water in his small pool, so like a naive child, instructed to use just his toe but unable to control his excitement, running full speed into the water instead; splashing any adults standing near for his protection.
I wonder why I’ve neglected this amazing place for so long. Allowing myself to become so absorbed and overwhelmed with the rush of everyday life that I’ve nearly forgotten the sensation of just being. Sitting still and inviting nature to exist around me, not needing to be in control, but instead relinquishing myself to something greater than I am, than I can ever hope to become. Appreciating the little things. The birds, the sun, the grass, the breeze…
Almost akin to hitting the reset button on one of the many pieces of technology managing my day-to-day life. Seeking out and finding that small button, the one hidden within a crevice in the man made plastic box, using an unwound paperclip to sneakily press and grant myself & the machine 30 seconds of reprieve before returning to whatever menial yet urgent task lies at hand.
I need to do this more often, I tell myself this, just as I have every time before. When I’ve depleted my own reserve of relaxation and peace, and have stumbled back to my roots, to nature for a refreshing reset, a dose of quiet, and a reminder from Mother Nature that she hasn’t gone anywhere. She’s here waiting for me, if I’ll only make time to remember her.