My friend Mercy writes a running blog. She frequently stops during her exercise to photograph flowers and other points of interest. I particularly enjoyed this post in which she was continually distracted by the things around her.
Having just started reading the book Mindfulness for Dummies, I can see similarities with how Mercy makes the most of her exercise time.
She runs all sorts of different routes, depending on where she ends up for work. I am a bit different: I don’t run, I walk briskly, and nearly always the same route. It is 2.2 miles which I can manage in 32 mins on a good day.
But what has walking and exercise got to do with wildflowers? Simple – I don’t often do the quickest time, because I keep stopping to smell the flowers escaping from the allotments, and photograph seasonal flowers along the route. So my mindful walk goes something like:
Leaving the house Thinking, Oh look the (insert seasonal flower name here – this week it’s verbascum) is looking really good.
Cross the road and head along the track next to the allotments. Stop to smell the roses / sweet peas / elderflower (delete as appropriate).
Continue at top speed past numerous front gardens, thinking about my breathing and considering how my feet, legs and arms are feeling as I walk.
Continue towards the cemetery. Along the outside is a row of trees including lime (great for tea making) and elder for making elderflower champagne. Fir trees hang over from inside the cemetery, and birds sing in the branches. There is a bit of a hill here and about now I’m starting to feel a little warm, remembering to consider my breathing.
Pass the lavender seedling in the road. I’ve been watching it for a year. It is growing alongside the kerb and only needs one vigorous road sweeper and it will be gone. I really didn’t expect to see it survive the winter – an example of triumph over adversity.
The route continues and I’m always on the lookout for a flower to photograph, such as this herb robert clinging to a wall – earlier in the year there was the cow parsley debate to consider as I reached for my camera phone.