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I feel most like myself when I’m walking in the park. I love open spaces. I love nature. Walking gives me a freedom of mind I don’t get anywhere else. When I’m at work, I’m thinking of work; when I’m home, I’m thinking of chores, kids, and to do lists; and when I’m at church, well I’m thinking about God and my relationship with Him.
However, when I’m walking in the park — Stone Mountain Park, Prospect Park, Central Park or any of the little ones in between, I’m free to think about anything I want. Or I can not think at all. Is that even possible? These are the times when I allow my spirit to roam and my emotions to meander. It is during my walks that I meditate on my hopes and dreams. If I’m going through turbulent times, I use a walk in the park not just for the exercise but also for the peace it brings and the wonderful opportunity to have some private, uninterrupted time with God. This is when I feel free to argue with Him about what I’m going through. Through tears and laughter, my walks in the park have brought me comfort when I’m heartbroken and a place of solace when I feel lost. It is where I sense the presence of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Walking in the park allows my mind to roam free and to think outside the box. This is very much me. I create poems in my head. Compose tunes in my mind. And daydream about what I will do with my life going forward. It’s a time when I literally stop and smell the roses. I walk bare feet to experience being one with the earth. Watching men push strollers; little boys walk their dogs and old ladies gingerly navigating a 5k stretch, gives me a sense of gratitude. Life is beautiful and it is only when I take the time to visit the park that I gain a renewed sense of appreciation for what our good Lord has created. The various trees swaying lazily in the summer breeze; the swans basking in the winter sun without a care in the world; and squirrels friskily running up and down one tree after another all combine to give me this wonderful experience that allows me to be me. Even the tiny turtle “hastily” moving across the dewy grass for fear of being trampled on by someone on an early morning run, catches my interest. I wonder what he is thinking as I stoop down to watch, closely following his shiny body, wondering what is going on in his mind as he “scampers” away. That is me, being myself.
Yes, walking in the park is where I feel most like myself. Where I am free to appreciate and experience what life has to offer. Whether it’s the dream of retiring on some beautiful Caribbean island someday or publishing my first novel, whatever I desire can and does happen when I walk in the park.