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Posts tagged ‘walking’

A morning walk

I try to get out and walk every day, which is usually sometime after lunch. In the mornings I have my routine of prayer and meditation, followed by coffee or tea while I journal or read something spiritually uplifting. This little routine I have can sometimes go on for three to four hours, so there goes the morning most days! But I do find it a lovely way to start my day. The other morning though, something in me whispered, “Let’s go for a walk, before the day becomes warm and full of people.” So at 7 a.m. (gasp!) I was up and out of bed, and headed up the steep climb to Washington Park, which is the home of the International Rose Test Garden here in Portland. What a wonderful treat it turned out to be, as I cleared the morning cobwebs from my head and took in the beauty of a place that is so deliciously close to my home, available to me at any time. And the writer in me found inspiration in a few words I journaled about my experience, how it just felt so good – and the words come out in a poem.

It Felt So Good

 

At the top of the hill I stopped

And looked out over the city draped in haze

Sitting on the soft green grass I rested

In a meditative pose

I opened to all the earth’s gentle energies

It felt so good!

Walking through the playground I stopped

To sit on the swing

Slowly moving, to and fro

I gathered my strength and flew above the earth

Gliding through the cool morning air

It felt so good!

Meandering onward I came to the singing fountain

I stopped to sit on the stony edge

And listen to the lovely melodies

Of the water chime as it played on metal

Tantalizing my sense of sound

It felt so good!

I walked along until I spied the splash of colors

Roses in full bloom, roses in the fullness of being

I noticed the brilliant shades and hues

I breathed in the familiar fragrance

I brushed the soft silk of a petal against my skin

It felt so good!

I turned to go home

Along the shaded dirt path

My body swinging with the rhythm of life

My heart open wide like the roses

My soul singing like the fountain

And it felt so good

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Not as in shape as I thought I was

Shortly after I moved to Portland I realized I really didn’t need a car here, and so off it went, back to Minnesota; the daughter of a friend of mine desperately needed a car at the time, and she was more than happy to buy my very reliable Honda Civic. That left me using public transportation, which is abundant here, or else walking my way around town. After a few months of walking so much, I noticed my clothes fitting a little better (not so snug), and I could walk the four flights up to my apartment without feeling as if I needed oxygen. So when the new meet-up group I found recently posted an evening walk in my neighborhood, I signed up, even though the distance was listed as six miles. Piece of cake I thought – I walk that and more on a day of exploring or running errands or sometimes both. What I didn’t take into account was the uphill direction we would be going on our route, exploring Washington Park and the very hilly Southwest area of Portland. How bad could it be? Pretty bad, as I soon found that my leg muscles were really as weak as noodles. But then I had a second wind – yes, I thought, I just had to get into my stride and I’ll be just fine as we said goodbye to two members who (very wisely and I should have joined them) decided to stop halfway and take the train back to our starting point. Not me though, no I was going to finish this walk if it killed me. And as we started to climb and climb our way through Washington Park, I thought at one point that I could very well die this way – a heart attack would have been a sweet release at that point as my poor heart and lungs worked overtime to keep me going. I started lagging far behind the others, but a very nice and concerned couple took me under their wing, walking a bit slower so they could keep an eye on me. My thoughts of a pleasant and scenic evening walk were shattered with every step I took now; my mantra becoming “one more step” instead of enjoying the beauty of the park. But finally, just when I felt like I could lay down and die, we reached the summit of Council Crest. And I have to say, the pain was worth the gain – we were treated to a spectacular view of the city lights from what felt like a heavenly vantage point – my ears actually started to pop on the walk down. As we began the big sigh of relief walk downhill, I found myself muttering, “Are we there yet?” like an impatient child. All I wanted to do was get home and stop walking! And I finally made it home, where I shoved aside my obsessive neatness tendencies and threw my clothes on the floor, appreciating the comfort of my bed like never before.

An art crawl of bridges

One of the things I love most about Portland is the Willamette River that runs through the city, and the bounty of beautiful bridges that span the river, reaching across like arms made of steel. There is a uniqueness to each bridge, which creates an art gallery of massive metal sculptures. They vary in color; ranging from the gun-metal black of the Steel Bridge, to the brick red of the Broadway Bridge, or the celery green of the Fremont Bridge. They vary in shape; the Fremont Bridge arches in a back-bend, the Broadway Bridge rolls in waves like the ocean, and the St. Johns Bridge pays tribute to her sisters the Brooklyn Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge. Each is lovely in its own way, and I try not to play favorites. But the Steel Bridge, with trains above and trains below, as well as a walkway that is far below the bridge traffic, is my bridge of choice when crossing the Willamette on foot. If you ever visit the lovely city of Portland, be sure to walk across the Steel Bridge from west to east, and take a walk along the Eastbank Esplanade. I promise you will not be disappointed as you gaze up and down the river, able to view the art crawl of bridges.

Steel Bridge

Steel Bridge

Broadway Bridge

Burnside Bridge

Hawthorne Bridge

Eastbank Esplanade

 

Free time

I love being retired! And with it comes a welcome and refreshing amount of free time; time to do the things I had always dreamed about doing, and sometimes not really doing much at all. Either way, it is my choice, what I decide to do with all my time – my treasure chest of free time.

My answer to a question

 

The question was asked of me

“What do you do with all your time?”

 

Well, today I journeyed to the park

I packed a bag full of books and filled my water bottle

And after I grew weary of reading

I lay down on the carpet of lush green grass

Closing my eyes, I saw my surroundings with my ears

There were cars driving by, and buses loudly humming

The bicycle man drove by shouting out “ice cream!”

Wind enticed the leaves into conversation

I heard flashing lights of red and blue from the frantic fire truck

Then I opened my eyes

I saw the trees waving hello to me

Their long branches heavy with abundant leaves

Creating a canopy over me, gently shading the sunlight

And I saw people like me, in the park

Doing what they will do with their time

 

Once more I was asked

“What do you do with all your time?”

Well, today I journeyed to the river

I sauntered along the river walk for a time

Then I grew weary and retired to a bench

And I watched a yellow kayak float by

It reminded me of a banana floating on the water

I listened to the gulls

Complaining to one another

About the lack of food the tourists feed them nowadays

And I noticed the bridges

Lined up like stiffened arms reaching across the water

The one made of dark black steel beckoned to me

So I accepted its invitation of safe passage

And crossed from west to east

My view of places is altered

I see where I was; downtown buildings dot the landscape

The esplanade I walk down shifts and floats with the river

And I see people walking along, just like me

Doing what they will with their time

 

The persistent questioning continues

“What do you do with all your time?”

Well, today I grabbed some money and a credit card (just in case)

And I journeyed to the mecca of quaint shops, eateries and other delights

That make up my neighborhood

I zig zag in and out of stores

Some offer such pretty summer clothes

But look! I found a new hat!

The tea shop up the wooden stairs has the most delicious teas

But today was hot, and I had a cold beer instead

Sitting at a sidewalk table

And one more stop before I go home

The bakery – with the macaroon cookies – their specialty

I wait in line behind all the people

Doing what they will with their time

 

So now I have a question for you

What do you do with all your time?

 

 

 

 

 

The watch and phone stay at home

A few months ago I moved 1600 miles away, to Portland, Oregon; retired and looking for new people, new places and new adventures. Portland has not disappointed the adventuress in me. Every day I venture out on foot; a new mode of transportation I have discovered. I walk and walk, and talk and talk to those who will engage in conversation with me. But I have two rules when I leave home to explore: Rule number one is to leave my cell phone on the dresser, and rule number two is that the wearing of a watch is not allowed. How can I interact and connect with my fellow Portlanders if my phone interrupts our lovely conversations? My friends and family back in Minnesota can make use of the wonderful phone tool called voicemail. And this blessed gift of time called retirement frees me from having to embrace the illusion of time – and I have learned what an illusion it truly is. I can set off to the park with a good book or my writing materials, and when I finally return home and look at the clock I realize how many minutes and hours have slipped away while I was engrossed in the present moment. I realize timekeeping has a purpose in this earthly realm, but when I can step out of it, it is so freeing. That goes for the technology of cell phones also; they are certainly useful and needed at times. But I find that in meeting new people in my new home, I much prefer the connectedness of years gone by – face to face, eyes to eyes, smile to smile.

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