One of the things Patricia and I enjoy most about living in Memphis is its fabulous Shelby Farms Park. Having just undergone a $52 million expansion, it is one of the most beautiful parks in America. It’s walking trails draw us several times a week. These late afternoon walks feed us spiritually.
Charles Dickens, my favorite writer, was himself an avid walker. He had a daily schedule. He was always in his study by 8am where he wrote until noon. At this point his wife would bring him lunch which he ate at his desk. After lunch he continued working until 2pm. Then, at 2pm, he would take a 13-mile walk through the English countryside. In the evening he would spend quality time with his wife and children (10 of them) prior to going to bed.
As a walker I find Charles Dickens’ daily 13-mile walk intriguing. Imagine taking a 13-mile walk each day (Patricia and I walk 5.2 miles). On his walks Dickens strolled through little towns and villages taking in the details of houses and people. Because he had a great memory for details he could retain much of what he saw and would later use it in the story he was writing at the time.
I too have been inspired and nourished when I walk. Nature is such a healing force. In today’s local newspaper (The Commercial Appeal, September 19, 2016) there is an interesting article on the Japanese philosophy of “forest bathing.” Forest bathing encourages one to slow down and contemplate nature with all of one’s senses as a way of promoting well-being. The article encourages us, when we walk in nature to, “absorb what surrounds us, the beauty of nature, the beauty of the world, from the smallest details, the pebbles under your feet or the branches and the bark on the trees, how the air feels and listening to the sounds surrounding us. It can be absolutely wonderful.”
One writer suggests, “Walking can nourish the soul in unique ways if you walk not just with your legs, but with your mind, heart, and soul. Walking and praying go together well too. Let’s remember, Jesus walked everywhere he went. Do you think he found spiritual nourishment going from place to place? Of course he did. Just listen to his sermon illustrations.
Get outside my friend. When I went through a period of depression years ago it was the singing of birds that welcomed me back to health. Nature drew the darkness from me. It will do the same for you.
Have a wonderful week (outside).