I walk about 5 miles every day.
Mostly I do this for fitness, but I also do it for the rare opportunity it offers to empty my mind for just a little while. It’s an hour or so of uninterrupted ability to zone out since I’m walking laps of my own property and there is no traffic to get in the way. When I begin my hikes, my brain does its level best not to give up but to be productive and think useful thoughts.
“Hmm. I wonder if those cherries would taste good with a little habanero in them. Ya know … a KICK!” or, “I really should make sure the boys get their chores done before they go to bed so we don’t have to move so quickly in the morning before our appointment.” Or, “I have to have that piece submitted to so-and-so by noon, the other recipe photographed, and get an invoice out to what's-his-face before I can start on my canning this afternoon.”
After a couple of miles and a few laps, I’ve usually beaten my brain into submission and it's devolved into thoughts like, “Stupid chickens!” when they walk in front of me, “Hi, Snakey!” when I spot a snake on the side of the path, “Pretty!” when a butterfly flits in front of me, or the super-class, “I’m really sweaty!” It’s like magic and I don’t mind saying it’s a great relief from the usual machinations of my mind.
A couple more miles into my walk and I’m making sure one foot is planted in front of the other steadily and that I don’t knock myself repeatedly in the thigh with my water bottle. It was at this moment the other day, at the point that is the longest distance from my house on my walk (and that I pass 10 to 12 times on each walk, depending on whether it’s a long-walk day or a short-walk day), that I heard a deep, creaky-voiced, insistent, “Mom.”