Micro-walks

Earlier in the month I mentioned my intention to spend as much time as possible out of doors this autumn. Various stresses outside my control have left me feeling very unwell indeed, so adventures away from home haven’t been possible. Instead I’ve been taking regular micro-walks in my garden. Thirty steps to the bottom of the garden and thirty back.

I often make that walk, but usually with my mind on a task – emptying the kitchen compost bucket, picking garden produce or finding the cat. On a micro-walk I’m focused on the walking itself and observation of my surroundings. How does my body feel? What is the weather like? What can I see, hear, smell? The senses of taste and touch are used less, but I might eat a berry or trail my hand over the worn wood of the fence.

I gather the things I encounter into my store of memories. Sometimes I pick up an object to bring it indoors or simply to look at it more closely. I might fetch my camera and take a picture. I note the progress of a flower from bud to seedpod. There’s a lot to take in in sixty steps.

This morning’s treasures included:

    A curled white feather by the back door – did it come from a preening seagull’s breast?
    Long-tailed tits whistling and cheeping in the viburnum tree above me as I examined some pieces of semi-composted fabric on the ground.
    A bright red poppy petal glistening on the lawn.
    Many shining orb spider’s webs – each occupant of similar shape, but different in size and colouring.
    The feel of cool breeze on my skin – taking a slow deep breath to relish the freshness.
    The golden gleam and temperate warmth of low-angled sun.

I brought the feather indoors and dropped it into one of my wonky papier-mâché bowls where it will catch my eye from time to time as I go about my chores. Maybe I’ll just sit and look at it sometimes while I drink a cup of tea. Soon it will loose its fresh beauty and will be replaced by some other artifact, but for now it is a thing of great pleasure.

feather in blue bowl

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