When I come into the office each morning I am often following a preschooler and one of their parents bringing them to school. The other day I was walking behind a Mom and her daughter. The Mom was carrying her daughter’s backpack while her little girl alternately walked holding her mother’s hand and letting go to skip ahead or walk along the stones of the community garden like she was a gymnast on a balance beam. Laughter filled both that moment and each of the little girl’s steps. I smiled as I took in this beautiful scene and remembered such walks with my own children.
I don’t skip much anymore. At least that way. But in thinking about that little girl on her way to school I realized that a part of life is about not forgetting how to skip. If I no longer skip down sidewalks, I need to at least be sure my heart skips along when I hear a cardinal singing from the top of a tree or see a glorious sunset or watch a little girl dance her way to school with her mother.
Maybe as I grow older skipping has something to do with paying attention. Paying attention to where I am: And who is around me; And the fullness and wonder of life in that very moment. My dog, Sadie Rose, teaches me that lesson. For example:
More often than not I approach our dog walks as exercise for the dog. My dog approaches our walks as a chance to explore. To wag her tail at every person she sees. To smell every smell there is to smell. To chase after every leaf that blows by. To stop and notice every new sound. As a result our walks often take twice as long as they would if I just walked myself.
All of which leads to this. More often than not as we are walking, I am distracted thinking of all the things on my To Do list for the day. All of a sudden the leash jerks in my hand pulling me up short. (She’s small but she’s strong). She has stopped, nose to the ground, pushed into the grass, smelling something important to smell. (A friend has been here!) Impatiently, I tug on the leash, but she doesn’t move. She doesn’t even lift her head.
It is then that it hits me. Sometimes the important thing about our walk is not the exercise but the smell of the grass after a rain or the way the clouds dance across the sky or the leaves that go tumbling by or the touch of breeze on my neck. All of which I too often miss in my distractions about something else.
So pay attention today. Skip a little…at least let your heart skip a little. This world we live in is a beautiful, wonderful place! And you are a beautiful, wonderful person!
You are loved,