My father was a very disciplined and punctual man; it was a prerequisite for his creativity. There was a time for everything: for work, for talk, for solitude, for rest. No matter what time you get out of bed, go for a walk and then work, he’d say, because the demons hate it when you get out of bed, demons hate fresh air. So when I make up excuses not to work, I hear his voice in my head: Get up, get out, go to your work.
–Linn Ullmann on her father, Ingmar Bergman
It’s often hard in the midst of a day gone wrong, to stop and take a deep breath. But sometimes just a little fresh air, just a short walk can make all the difference.
Walks wake us up and change our environments. Even familiar places change through the seasons. Picking a tree that you check in with all year long can provide a rich and textured record of the year.
My favorite resource and inspiration for walking is Healing Walks for Hard Times by Carolyn Scott Kortge. The simple practices that she describes bring a measure of awareness and contemplation to an everyday activity. These are the sorts of things that I want to teach my children–easy ways to calm your heart, open your mind, and tune in to wonder.