Last week I wrote a blog post about what I suppose is the shortest travel trip I take—to my back porch!
The second shortest trips I take, when I enter a totally different world from the indoor routines of my life, involve brief walks around my neighborhood, or some other neighborhood, usually about 35 minutes, which is how long it takes me to walk two miles. Treadmills are fine for the three or four times I year I can’t get outside, but my preference is always to walk outdoors. Even this morning, when it is raining (but not lightening), I am okay with getting thoroughly wet while I walk.
I love the natural world.
Carolina Jasmine, Wisteria, Magnolias, Cedars and dozens of other Southern flowers and shrubs provide an aroma I can’t get indoors. I am no botanist, so often I don’t even know what the fragrance is, but I can still enjoy the scent.
One day I hear mockingbirds singing, and another day I hear an angry squirrel fussing at the mockingbird. I can listen to the wind rattling the leaves, especially in the fall, and since I’m not intimidated by a bit of precipitation, I can enjoy the patter of the rain on tree leaves in any season.
Taste? I picked a few blackberries yesterday morning. Some days, I find blueberries. I learned how to suck honeysuckle when I was a kid and still have a hard time walking past a honeysuckle vine without tasting a few of the flowers. I have pulled up wild onions and gnawed on them while I walked. Muscadines and scuppernongs are available in the Southern woods where I stroll. Tastes abound.
My study/office, which is where our treadmill is, looks pretty much the same every day, but the world outside my house offers an endless variety of colors, tints and shades. Most of our dyes come, after all, from natural sources. Dandelions will produce yellow. Green leaves and pine needles surround us. You can’t make dye from the sky, but the blue of midday and the oranges and pinks of sunrises and sunsets are stunning. If you want color, the Southeastern U.S. is the right place to live and spend time outdoors.
Touch? Textures? I don’t feel much need to rub tree or bush bark, but if I did, I would quickly notice the difference in pine, holly, and rose. If I manage to encounter wildlife, I could tell the difference in a rabbit and a snake, don’t you think? Every season is different. The lush spring in South Carolina fills up all the blank spaces that were open during the winter.
Too many words. Too much time indoors. I need to go outside—for a walk!