This morning dawned bright and sunny, a welcome relief from the seemingly endless rain that is defining this late spring and early summer season in SE Michigan. I do love cloudy, rainy days and take them as an invitation to read, reflect, and do interior work both within me and within my home or the church. However I have a vested interest right now in balancing this rain with sun and warmth: walking to yoga and nurturing my baby vegetable garden.
Walking to yoga is one of my CREDO II “Rule of Life” practices. Five times a week, sometimes more, I rise early and walk to an early morning yoga class. Sometimes the first class is at 7am but on Saturday it is 8am and on Monday, my day off, I usually take the 9:30 class. The walk is only fifteen minutes each way, not far. It is a lovely walk through quiet tree-lined neighborhoods.
Walking is an intentional decision.
I could ride my bike or drive the car. I do love to ride my bike and on hot summer mornings it is one of my favorite things to do – enjoy some fresh air and vigorous exercise before it is too hot to move. Driving my car the distance of a fifteen minute walk just seems wasteful, so I avoid the car and walk as often as possible.
Walking is meditative for me, peaceful and reflective. Walking accentuates my yoga practice. One day while walking over the bridge that crosses the river I saw a blue heron sitting deep in the woods along the shore of the river. I was close enough that I could see the markings on its beak. It felt secure enough tucked in the woods off the street that I posed no threat. I watched it for a long while. Other birds fly around and past me, hop on the grass and pull up worms and grass seed for breakfast.
Walking invites me to pay attention.
My dog Roxie is over fifteen years old. I use to take her for long walks. Oh, she was in heaven on those walks. But now she has lost most of her ability to stand, walk, and support herself. Her hind legs splay out to the side, curl under themselves, or collapse. Once in awhile she has full use of them and will walk around the house. She still enjoys looking out the window and raising a woof at the dogs that walk by. Mostly, though, she lays under the kitchen table and sleeps.
Last night, after dinner, Dan and I walked out to our vegetable garden. We wanted to see how it was doing and inspect any damage from the heavy rain the night before. I decided to take Roxie and Ruby with us.
|This photo of Roxie, on the left, and Ruby was taken in 2008.|
First I had to help Roxie down the stairs and then as she slowly made her way across the lawn to Dan I went back into the house and got Ruby. I let Ruby run off-lead. She is old enough and obedient enough to stay with us. She ran circles around us, delighting in the ability to run, one of her favorite activities. With Roxie’s compromised walking gait it took us a while to get to the garden, which is on the other side of the five acres of property. Roxie stumbled and stopped, walked, and dragged her legs, got her footing and managed. Ruby ran and ran. The garden, when we got to it, appeared to be fine. A few leaves on the cucumbers were looking white so I plucked them off. Mostly it all seems to be thriving, although growing slowly. At least it is growing.
After awhile, the sun low in the sky, the air crisp and clear after the rain, the dogs in a kind of doggy heaven from time outdoors, we made our way back home. Memories of many dog walks, years and years with these two dogs, the delight they have been in our lives, flooded me with love and joy. They are both old now, near or past the typical life span of their breeds. I know each day is a gift and a blessing. I remind myself of that when Roxie has bouts of incontinence and is befuddled. And, when she stands and pants and pants and won’t lay down. Despite pain and anti-inflammatory meds I know she must be uncomfortable from arthritis in her back hips and the degenerative disease that is taking away her ability to know what her back end is doing.
I remind myself that one day I too will be old and have a hard time walking.
So yes, I have a vested interest in balancing the rain with some warmer sunny weather.
It feels good to go for a walk and keep myself in the best shape I can. It’s good for the vegetables and the dogs and the humans to get some sun and fresh air.
I hope to be walking for a long while, and I hope maintaining a yoga practice will keep me strong and flexible for years to come.
One thing I do know. Life is unpredictable, who knows what the future holds. So I’ll do my best to enjoy each day as it comes along, walking when ever and where ever I can.