For the past nine years I have walked my Great Dane in a locally forested area called the Grove. Following the well worn path brings us along a ridge where we walk high above the Ottawa River, winding through the majestic, towering pines, and occasionally glimpse a wandering fox or a foraging raccoon. It is the perfect way for us to not only get our exercise, but to reap in the benefits of fresh air; nature acting as an essential healer. Although I always say that therein lies my best avenue for thinking, it isn’t a meandering stroll; I walk at a good pace, Cricket unleashed, getting my legs moving and my heart rate up.
A friend recently said to me “Isn’t it amazing how many owls you see in the Grove?” What? Owls? Many? How did I miss this? Nine years of walking in the Grove and I have never seen an owl? And then, it dawned on me; I never look up. I am concentrating more on what is straight in front of me, watching the path so as to not trip on a wayward root or half buried rock. The next few times I headed into the Grove, I decided to slow down a little and bring my attention to the upper branches of the trees, and sure enough, as the universe likes to occasionally prove its point, there sat an owl, quietly watching me as I walked under its lofty perch.
It taught me a valuable lesson about how straightforward our lives can sometimes become; how our well worn paths become so familiar we fail to appreciate what is right in front of us. By allowing myself to slow down and look up, I gained a new perspective, and with it, a valued experience.
Photo credit: http://Photo by Tina Rataj-Berard on Unsplash