On December 30th, the last Sunday of 2007, we went on a walk. It was not an extraordinary walk – aside from being in the glorious surroundings, of course, not to be underestimated – but a simple walk of about two miles in a nearby area with a forest and a nice creek. We had done this stretch of walk dozens of times before, but we marveled at all of the new things that we saw on this particular walk. We decided in no certain terms to make the “weekend walk” a ritual. One we could look forward to throughout the week.
A time to connect with each other, and to connect with nature.
A time to quietly observe the world around us and the changing of the seasons.
A time to just be.
As the calendar ticks by, I find that my desire for the walk changes from week by week: Sometimes, I want a breath of fresh air. I want to get some exercise and burn some calories. I want to improve my mood. I want to wear one of my handknits. I want to meditate and quietly think about things. I want to simply put one foot in front of the other and truly live in the moment. I want to reach a spot that I have never been. Sometimes I have all of these expectations in one single walk.
Kris brings the camera and documents the beautiful natural world. He particularly enjoys capturing the changes of the trees, plants, and bodies of water as the seasons change. Sometimes I take the camera and try to capture the beauty I am seeing.
Each weekend of this month has provided the opportunity for a meaningful walk. We walked through local parks, hiked to a nearby hilltop, and finally, this weekend, we went on a weekend walk a little further from home… well, three actually, one for each day we were there. And the novelty of it was that one walk was deep underground while the other two were a little closer to the clouds!
We spent the long holiday weekend in the Shenandoah mountains of Virginia – about two hours south of our home. We drove down on Friday mid-day and stopped over at a local attraction: Luray Caverns in Luray, Virginia.
Our timing was perfect: the snow was fresh and beautiful, and the sun was bright. While the temperatures were cold – below freezing on both days – that did not stop us from getting out and exploring. We found two hiking trails up into the mountains and reserved one for each day, Saturday and Sunday.
These walks may have been my favorite yet. They were a true sensory experience: the smell of pine trees and fresh winds, the aural crunch of the snow and ice under foot, and the monochromatic landscape of white snow blanketing the mountain, and the chilly winds felt against our faces.
The weekend walk ritual has been the highlight of my new year, and we are only three weeks in! I am very excited to discover more places – both near and far – during the weekend walks.
It is amazing how something as simple as a walk can be the best part of the week.
Do you have a special ritual that brings you joy?