Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pictorial: A Walk in Autumn

"An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day." - Henry David Thoreau

The best days, I've found, are those where you can make time for prayer...and a walk.

Temporarily, I've put running on hold. In short, I may have been doing too much too soon, and it would take a couple of days to recover from the cramps in my leg muscles. Maybe that wouldn't scare off a die-hard runner (and I really admire those people!). But I told my husband that if I was headed for injury that could impact my ability to walk and hike, then I was choosing walking and hiking over running.

This year, it seems I've spent less time on the treadmill at the gym and more time on trails, sidewalks, and park walking paths. Yesterday, for the first time, I brought my camera with me, documenting moments captured by my heart. No MP3 player to block out the sounds of the wind and the leaves falling from the trees and the birds. No weights on my ankles or wrists--I never use those, anyway--because my spirit wasn't weighted down, either, and this was more than exercise. No pedometer to keep track of my steps, either.

Just my camera, my beginning-to-get-worn walking shoes, a warm hoodie to shield me from the autumn nip in the air, and the presence of the Lord.

Walking is wonderful at any time of the year, but autumn lends itself even more so. The temperature is perfect; the air has a certain scent. A bed of golden, burnt orange, red, brown and still-green leaves adds a pleasant crunch beneath your walking shoes.

Put all those things together, and it's hard to keep focused on your problems. You find yourself silently saying a prayer of thanks, grateful for the ability to walk, which we all take for granted. For health, for the work of His hands, for the serenity that is brought to you with each step.

Walking has been shown to strengthen the heart, but you don't think about it when you're taking in the sights around you. Yesterday, on a walk that lasted an hour because I went around the lake twice, aspects of my work-in-progress came to me. Writers are notorious for being "creative walkers," and I'm sure we're not the only ones. Many a character will accompany you on the path or trail, as Taylor Aldridge, one of the main characters from ONE SWEET DAY, did with me yesterday.

A picture of the bridge leading from one section of the park to the parking lot, where my car awaited me. Note the leaves that fell so delicately on the planks of wood.

That was more than just plain, old exercise. Apparently, art is not confined to the walls of a musty museum. You can savor it anytime, outdoors, on a serene afternoon created by the Master Artist.

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