DAILY walks provide me with plenty of opportunities – time to think and reflect, feel the change of the weather and the season and notice a subtle difference in the air. I’m often delighted with stumbling upon koalas, echidnas and kangaroos on my path. I’m usually alone but sometimes I walk with a friend for a catch up. Another friend’s dog occasionally accompanies our walk, too. At times, I listen to music or a podcast and consolidate choreography learning for my gym class.
While running bestows on me focused energy to move forward to either the final destination or intended distance, the energy is more expansive when I walk. I often let my mind drift and observe what pops up in my mind with curiosity but without judging. Those thoughts sometimes surprise me and a tiny seed for my writing is often planted during my walks. I have more time to look up the sky, talk to a stranger or take pictures if I fancy.
I sometimes bump into strangers who inspire me. I don’t know their names but every time I meet them, I ride stronger and run with more vigour. There are two of them, a cyclist and a runner, and they each have a prosthetic leg. The first time I saw this runner fly past me, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was struggling towards the end of my run. After seeing him running so fast with a prosthetic leg, I felt I had no excuse but try my best and finish strong. So I did. The cyclist with a prosthetic leg is also very strong. Sometimes we pass each other in an opposite direction on Cape Paterson Rd. We give ourselves quick nods of acknowledgment. Other times he rides past me with his strong stride as if he were a gust of wind. Every time this happens I pedal my bike resolutely although he is way ahead of me. A chance meeting with them all depends on my choice of the path, time and the mode of exercise. I feel very lucky to meet them every time to inspire and motivate me not to give up in any circumstances.
I have a fear of deep water. I’ve been trying to overcome this irrational fear whenever I have an opportunity. Then I don’t do water activities for a while, I slip back and I soon become gripped with fear again. I ventured out to challenge myself this summer by taking up kayaking. On one glorious summer day Rob and I paddled around Flat Rocks over the crystal clear water. I paddled over a few of my favourite snorkelling spots, and saw my familiar beach from a totally different perspective. It was so refreshing. My fear diminished in the first five minutes. Gliding over sparkling water was pure magic, and I felt exhilarated and totally carefree.
I love being outdoors doing any form of exercise. Running focuses me and walking expands me. Cycling provides me with a great sense of freedom and kayaking lets me see things from a different perspective. Snorkelling teaches me to flow gracefully and swimming teaches me patience. One thing is clear. I’ve never regretted exercising. I always feel rejuvenated and clear in my mind.
So, back to my walking. What sort of course and turns will I take this year, I wonder? What kind of people will I meet on the way? Where will I walk? Will I step on to the soil of my motherland this year? Will my mother’s footsteps be next to mine? I don’t know yet. Let’s hope my footsteps carry me down the same path my heart wants to go, and by doing so I can leave distinctive footprints of my life.