Marshall Bowers

Conjurer of code. Devourer of art. Pursuer of æsthetics.

Take a Walk

Friday, May 24, 2024
484 words
3 minute read

For the past few days I've been taking daily walks around my neighborhood.

I already take my dog, Arya, out for a walk twice a day. However, these walks are more utilitarian in nature. Having to wrangle a rambunctious terrier mix does not lend itself to a peaceful stroll.

When I am walking by myself it's different. I can go at my own pace, stopping to smell the roses, both figuratively and (sometimes) literally.

The beautiful, sunny weather beckons to me even more than usual on account of my currently overburdened mental state. The thoughts pounding away inside my brain seem to double their efforts when I'm sat at my desk, wishing for nothing more than for them to subside.

So I lace up my sneakers and cross the threshold out into the glorious sunlight.

The streets are empty as I walk them, with nary a soul in sight. Every so often a car will pass by, breaking my solitude but for a moment before the sight and sound of it disappear. Other than that, it is almost totally silent, save for the sounds of birds.

The birds. Ah, the birds. A host of them surround me as I amble along my route. Starlings and robins and sparrows are in abundance. Crows are a common sight as well, along with a cardinal or dove every so often.

These are just the ones I've yet identified, with many more—some tucked away from view within the leaves of nearby trees—singing their song.

Sometimes I'll hear the drumming of a woodpecker off in the distance. I was graced with a glimpse of one the other day, flitting between mailbox posts in search of a meal.

Every so often over the course of my walk I'll stop for a moment, close my eyes, and just feel the sun on my face and the wind in my hair. If I stay there long enough—eyes tightly shut—I can almost picture myself somewhere else.

I am transported to Chiang Mai, walking down a residential street. There are concrete walls and gates on either side, separating the compounds from the road. It's nearly noon, and the sun is shining brightly overhead.

Just as I begin to wonder why I left my air-conditioned refuge, a cool breeze starts to blow. Despite being brief, it provides welcome relief from the heat of the sun.

I open my eyes and the vision fades, and I continue walking.

So far these walks have proved to be an anchoring experience for me.

In recent years I have found it increasingly hard to be present in my daily life. I seem to be always longing for the past or anxious about the future, to the point of not being able to enjoy the present.

Yet, on these walks I've felt present and at ease for the first time in a very long time.