Today I upped the ante and took a 45 minute walk. In order to prepare for my two mile hike in the woods, we went to Lake Padden instead of staying on my neighborhood sidewalks and my comfort zone.
We walked on the main path around the lake for about twenty minutes and then took a side path that was muddier, full of ups and downs and roots and rocks. When I walk on terrain like this I need to look at the ground so I know where to place my prosthetic foot each step. It’s easy for me to trip on any bump in my path.
Keeping my eyes to the ground used to be boring because I only focused on two things: I focused on putting one foot in front of the other and I focused on my resentment. In order to enjoy the beauty around me, I had to stop. I sorely missed walking as I took in the trees and moss and ferns. Walking in the woods has been a soul centering activity since I was a child. I felt cheated that I couldn’t take advantage of the beauty while I was in it, unless I stopped.
And then I realized that there’s a lot to see right where I was looking. My kayak buddy, Sue, got me hooked on finding heart rocks. So instead of resentment I excitedly look for heart rocks. If I’m on a path that doesn’t have rocks, then I look for any beauty that I can find.
Looking for heart rocks is one of my favorite past times. I haven’t had the opportunity to look for heart rocks much in the last two years because I haven’t been walking. In the last four weeks my walks have centered around my neighborhood streets where rock hearts are at a minimum.
Today when I walked in the woods, eyes focused on the ground, I was excited to see if a heart rock would appear. I walked a little slower so I could scan the earth. Sometimes larger rocks, partially buried, look like heart rocks. Once I unbury the rest of the rock I discover that just the exposed part of the rock was a heart. I like these rocks because they are “heart rock wannabes.” They know some day they’ll be heart rocks and they’re just a little impatient. Then there are the rocks that are “nearly heart rocks”; in reality they are triangles and it will take just a little more time before their hearts are exposed.
I love heart rocks. I love the metaphor they pose. Years and years of erosion and weather have slowly stripped away layers and ground down the granite until the heart of the rock is revealed.
I wasn’t finding a heart rock today. I don’t always find one when I look, which makes them extra special, but today I felt like I needed to find one. It had been so long since I had. No sooner had I asked my daughter to help me find one than I heard, “Look, Mommy, here’s one.”
I squealed with delight as she placed the full heart in my hand. I placed it in my pocket. And there it remains, a reminder of how I stretched my boundaries today.