Tiny Elephant

There’s a tiny little mosaic elephant sitting on the window sill in the middle bathroom, the caramel colored one. He’s in profile, and his tusk looks as if it’s trying to pry the blind open in order to get a better look at what’s outside. Paul brought my little multi-colored friend back from Spain, and after looking around the house and carefully considering different spots, I decided that the bathroom window was the perfect home for him because:

1)      The colors are perfect for the room.

2)      It’s a frequently used room for visitors and inhabitants alike, and everyone who enters there gets to see his little body turned towards the outside world.

3)      He’s a reminder to say YES to life, to travel, to opportunities. It’s better to go for it (whatever “it” might be) than to peer out at the world through the blinds.

4)      I like having mementos of the children in each room, and the elephant reminds me of Paul and his recent trip to Madrid. If he, a 23 year-old, can get out from behind the blinds, can’t we?

Holding Hands

04-07-07_08101.jpgIsn’t this a great photo of Mike and Lisa? I LOVE the way they’re holding hands heading towards the coastline for an early morning walk. The way the sun is glistening off to the side and the fact that the day is fresh and new conjures up thoughts of new beginnings and a couple holding hands, ready to take on (together) whatever they have ahead of them.

Beach Walks

04-07-07_13271.jpg One of the most wonderful experiences of my entire life is walking on the beach. I’m not sure what it is that I love so much, but there’s something about walking right on the very edge of the continent that is both relaxing and invigorating. I’ll even add inspiring and uplifting…not to mention the fact that it’s good for body and soul. Last week I felt like I was in heaven because I got to pound the sand not once, not twice, but four different times, once with Mike and Lisa and the other times alone. It could be the sound of the surf that I love; it’s so loud, soothing, and rhythmic. The water itself is so beautiful, sometimes green, sometimes blue, and sometimes gray. The frolicking children, young surfers, fellow walkers, and sunbathers also add to the enjoyment. The breeze from the ocean is an added plus, especially when it’s at my back. And the sun…ah, the glorious sun. How can anyone visit the shore and not find God?

Although some of my family members kid me about a statue of Buddha in my foyer, I think they’ll see the truth of his statement that, “If you wish to know the Divine, feel the wind on your face and the warm sun on your hand.”

Scott Park Lesson

Since we’ve moved, I’ve changed my walking route(s). Occasionally I’ll walk around the neighborhood, especially on the days when I feel like I need a real workout that the hilly streets provide. The undulating hills and curvy, tree-lined streets are invigorating for both body and soul. Most of  the time, however, I find myself going to Scott Park, an area where people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and backgrounds converge to walk, jog, play tennis or volleyball, or picnic with family and friends.

It’s SO COOL there. Trees of all kinds seem to peer down on the shifting population as they wend their way around the winding one-mile path or participate in sports. Sometimes it’s quiet except for chirping birds and the sound of one’s own footsteps. Other times, it’s a little more clamorous. Tennis balls getting whacked back and forth across the net and exuberant shouts of the volley ball players as they jump to punch the ball remind me that there’s more to sports than the solitary walk that I prefer.

What I really love about the place, however, is the variety of people there who are all trying their best to improve themselves in some way, whether it’s by socializing with others in sports or by walking or jogging their way to fitness. Since I’m a walker and occasional jogger, I’m keenly interested in and aware of those who share the footpath. They range from the young speed demons who dart past me to the elderly who slowly and cautiously make their way around the track. I’ve seen people limping, using walkers and canes, and even leaning on companions for support as they make “the loop.” Some are thin as rails while others are obese. Our socioeconomic background, race, ethnicity, age, and state of health differ, yet I feel somehow united to all of these folks because I sense that we have many things in common. We see the connection between mind, body, and spirit and are out saying “yes” to our physical and spiritual selves.  

I never leave the track without feeling inspired or motivated in some way, and this morning was no exception. On my last lap, I saw two women ahead of me whom I hadn’t seen before. Both were struggling to make it up the slight incline, and as I got closer I could overhear their conversation. The woman with the cane was in obvious discomfort and informed her friend, “My heel’s ‘bout to kill me.” Her walking buddy encouraged her to go back to the car and wait for her to finish two laps and assured her that one lap was enough considering her pain. “No, I gotta do this, and I am,” she replied. I walked briskly by and heard the words, “You’re determined, that’s for sure.”

Yes, she was, and I admired her for it and was grateful for the lesson. It’s so much easier to take the path of least resistance…at least in the short run. It would have been easier for this walker to stop and rest while her friend went “the distance,” and yet would her health have improved? Perseverance and persistence are traits essential for any accomplishment, and as I walked on past them, this little quote came to mind: “How can you expect God to direct your steps if you’re not taking any?” Who said that, I’m not sure, but there’s a lot of truth in that pithy little phrase.