Anxiety, Humor, Life, Menopause

Walking Away From It All

When the quarantine began back in March, I began walking in one of the many forest preserves we have near our home. We are lucky to have many nature preserves that our county sets aside to take care of nature in a very unnatural suburban area, especially when the housing boom began in the late eighties/early nineties.

I would drive by these places all of the time over the past 25 years and think how pretty they were; some of them I would walk in with my friends when my daughters were small and were riding in strollers. But since everything closed up here in quarantine, the preserves were my sanctuaries to get out of the house and explore.

Around my 50th birthday, I decided to set a goal for myself: I wanted to visit the majority, if not all, of the forest preserves in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas during my 50th year.

At first, it was just a challenge to myself (and my husband) to get out of the house and explore new places, maybe lose a little weight, and get into shape. But as the weeks turned into months, it turned into something more.

It saved my life.

It was a way for me to find solace, to cry alone, to look up at the sky and talk to God, to my departed relatives, to the birds and creatures along the trails. Every time I return home from one of our walks, I feel as if I’ve been on a vacation. Like I’ve traveled to a faraway land, light years away from every single terrible thing we are absorbing currently.

Getting out on those trails isn’t always easy. Some days, it takes everything I’ve got to put one foot in front of the other. I shuffle to the bathroom, I shuffle to the coffee maker, I shuffle to the closet, I shuffle to put my shoes on. Every day feels the same as the one before it. It’s as though I am wading through gelatin. Trying to get to the next day, and the day after that, and so on.

Then I get out there. I smell pine, see a flower, hear a cardinal, and feel the Earth sigh around me. I hear another person say good morning as they pass by and I wonder if I am the first person they’ve said hello to that day. Is it the first time they’ve heard their own voice that morning? Are they as happy to see another human being as I am?

Saint Augustine once said “solvitur ambulando.” Translated to mean, “it is solved by walking.”

Since the middle of March, I’ve walked over 50 miles. I have left the woods feeling like I’d had hours of therapy without having to pay a single dollar out of my pocket save for the gas money it took to get me there.

And I have hope.

That I’ll be able to get up and get through another long day. That today will be better than yesterday. And even if it isn’t, I know that I will have that walk to cry and talk and feel like I’ve taken a break from my life for a short while before I do it all over again.

And again.

And again.

16 thoughts on “Walking Away From It All”

  1. Love the pictures. Love that you are escaping everything and exploring these beautiful trails. I walk the same exact walk every day. Boring, yes- but I rely on the predictability of being close to home in case the natives get restless . . . and my chauffeur abilities are sometimes needed. I will live thru your pictures. Even though I walk in the same neighborhoods, I do the same thing . . . look for guidance, pray, reflect. Fortunately I do not have to cope with migraine pain. Glad your adventures have taken you ‘away’. We all need that!

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  2. This is how I feel when walking in nature too; it’s such a calming sensation for me! (though I have no idea how many miles we’ve walked)

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  3. My sweet friend. I am so happy that you have this type of refuge for your sanity, body, and soul.
    I know you’ve been struggling with the migraines which only makes everything else in the world more exuberant; and I’m so sorry for that.
    Walking in nature is one of the best things we can do for ourselves…especially when we feel that connection with our people who are no longer on the earth with us.
    Wishing you health and more peace in the coming weeks….lord knows we all need that.
    XOXO

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  4. You are not alone in your solitary walks and talks. I agree we have many beautiful places in this part of the country so I love the goal you set for yourself. If you hear another person talking to themselves and crying at the state of the world don’t be afraid it’s just me doing the same thing.

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  5. I’m with you about how difficult it can be to want to get going in the morning when the days all blend into one. However, walks like the one you featured here are worth getting up for. Nature is healing.

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  6. This. Post.

    Wow.

    So beautifully written. And I couldn’t identify with a lot of it. I haven’t been on a walk in one of our beautiful forest preserves in weeks. I need to remedy that.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Man, I wish I could take one of those walks with you. I totally relate to the feeling that every day is like the next. I have been feeling more like I’m swimming in jello than wading through it. Nearing the end of my second week (officially) away from work, and I think I’m about to break through the surface again. Moving my body has been key. Getting away from the screen has been, too. (Sorry I’ve been a little MIA.) I’m so glad you have these walks, and that you’re feeling hope about migraine treatment. Sending you love and healing vibes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I MISS YOU SO MUCH.
      I miss my friends so much. I just melted this morning to Anna because she is still seeing her friends but I haven’t really been seeing mine enough and it’s hard. I also haven’t been spending much time with my parents either because of fear of getting them sick. It’s too much, I need these people in my life and my mental health is taking a beating. But thank GOD for the walks. 🙂

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