While Walking: Distraction and Focus, Step by Step

My little dog and I went to the park to see how it fared after the winter snow. 

We entered the park on a steep set of stairs, stairs that immediately called me out of my reverie. The steepness, The slickness of being wet. I forgot about the news.  

We meandered down the forested path, savoring the feeling of not being in the city. Sounds of dogs and people wafted to us across the distance. Mostly we were alone. 

As we stepped back onto the paved trail, I felt the day’s news creeping back in followed by a feeling of being trapped by the incessant headlines.

I’m here, in the park. That’s why I came here. I sighed.

The dog sniffed everything she could on the way to the pond. Ice was thick over much of the still water. 

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Like a boomerang, the headlines from that morning snapped back into my brain. I sighed again. The dog looked at me.

We walked further along the edge of the lake. The ducks didn't seem to mind the ice, not one bit. 

The ducks on the shore didn't linger. As soon as they saw the dog they made their way onto the lake.  

Zig and zag. I was filled with memories of the news again, as if none of the walk existed. Then we climbed through bushes to get around a downed tree. Blissfully, I focused on the steep bank, picking my route with care. The dog scooted around the obstruction.  

Finally, something shifted and I walked and walked. I watched the dog and felt the air cold in my nose and my feet solidly on the ground. 

Twenty minutes. That’s how long it took for my brain to let go of the thing before and stay on the thing of the present. The path met my feet, reliably, reassuringly holding me up.

The dog and I walked back.