One of the things I most enjoy about wandering around Camphill is the variety of landscapes. When I posted some photos online from one of my latest walks, some one commented that they hoped I didn't touch the sumac. We don't have poison sumac around this part of Minnesota, but because the rest of my post was photos of boggy ground plants he assumed that it must be what he was familiar with. He didn't know that to get to the boggy ground I walked through agricultural land, a wooded road, a pine forest, an overgrown abandoned pastureland, old growth oak woods and finally to the tamarack bogs. The other night I walked through a freshly cut hay field, native prairie plantings, pine woods, tamarack bog, springfed cattail marsh and oak woodlands.
There are not many places that this can happen anymore! And all within half hours stroll. Of course the half hour doesn't include time spend observing.
Really slowing down and looking at things takes perseverance. It is easy to get lost in your thoughts and just keep walking without noticing anything around you. When I find myself doing this I stop. I just stand there and look around me. What am I hearing? What do I see? What do I smell? This reconnects me to what I am doing, and why. I seek a deeper connection to the earth around me. I want to see and appreciate each new plant or bring that crosses paths with me. I want to understand it's place in this world and how it connects to me and all other living things.
Sometimes I just sit down. A change of perspective can bring to light all sorts of things you never would notice towering above them.
Sometimes I lay down to get a good shot of a plant. This brings an even better understanding of how much we miss when striding by, lost in our thoughts.
So next time you go out for a walk, maybe take sometime to just slow down, or even sit down. You might be surprised what shows itself to you!