Day 4: Changing views

Monday, April 19, 2010

This morning I woke up bright and early, made my cup of coffee and returned to bed with a bunch of recipes books and magazines - ready to plan my meals for the rest of the week. I called my dog, Hank, up onto the bed for a snuggle. After a while, he jumped up, looked out the window, looked at me, looked out the window and then looked at me with a big stupid doggy grin on his face. I thought "Yes, Hank, you're right. It's a beautiful morning for a walk." I dressed, grabbed my iPod and we hit the road.

Yesterday afternoon, my neighbour received a huge load of free tree-mulch and the pile was so big that it was spilling all over the street. She ran down and asked me if I wanted any and so I spent an hour barrowing mulch down the street. I was careful to not stress my back - using squatting and lunging movements to shovel the mulch. But I was a bit worried that I'd still overdone it. Mulching is really the worst thing to do with a bad back - it's so easy to twist or lift incorrectly. My lower back was a little sore last night, but I was pleased to find that I was walking easily this morning, with a spring in my step even.

Hank and I took our usual morning route: down the street and around the dog park (Hank likes to check his p-mail), up the hill to where the street meets the path that runs through the reserve by the Swan River, along the river and back up a few streets to our house. As we broach the hill, the path wends down before us and the view extends across the reserve to the Garrett Rd bridge - an older style bridge with huge wooden logs supporting it - and even farther to the hills of the Darling Scarp in the distance.

I've lived here for 10 years and this view never fails to lift my mood. Today, the light was a silver seeping and creeping across the landscape. Mist hung across the hills and flowed toward the bridge. You'd never know that were kilometres of suburbs between them. The landscape was softened and blurred, and still and calm.

In summer, the view can be harsh and glaring. The rising sun burns the eyes and I have to wear a hat to shield them. A great orange ball rises behind the bridge, and I try to time my walks to see it there but some days I walk to late and by the time I get home I can feel my skin beginning to burn.

In winter, all can be dank and dark. Walking down into the reserve is like walking into a marshy elven world full of the sounds of frogs chirping. I wear a warm coat and hat, snuggling up against the cold.

But now the season is just changing from hot to cold, and it's yet warm enough that I strip down to a singlet after my blood starts moving. Back home, I sit and ponder at the beauty of my neighbourhood amd how much better life can be just by taking a regular walk. Walking doesn't just improve my fitness, it also helps balance my soul by making me feel more connected to the world around me. I take pleasure in the changing views amidst the changing seasons. Walking slows down my morning and softens my day like mist on hills.
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