Urban Hiker

It is interesting to observe how we deal with having taken a lot of freedom from us and how we may have shifted our attitude and outlook.

Out of necessity, many of us get to know our neighborhoods quite well now. Stripped of beaches, parks and hiking trails, we have to find alternatives. Up and down the hills, criss-crossing blocks and blocks around our residence, we become urban hikers. It’s a wonderful thing!

Walking, we notice things we completely miss when we drive: beautiful flowers in front yards, well-manicured lawns, balconies in strange places, vibrant colors of buildings, and most importantly, the people who live in our neighborhood. How delightful to pause for a brief chat, to check in with each other. It is uplifting to walk by a residence with a person who isn’t mobile, yet loves to engage, and therefore waves and hollers a friendly ‘Hi’. We can stop or we can just respond and keep walking. Maybe we stop another day and get to know that person a little bit better.

Generally, we think there isn’t much nature in our cities. When we pay attention, though, we might be surprised to find out there is actually a lot of it. Birds singing and chirping in trees, hawks and crows screeching above. Squirrels running. Butterflies, caterpillars, and hummingbirds visiting flowering plants. Groundcovers exploding in vibrant colors. Weeds, hardy as ever, pushing through asphalt, seizing every nook and cranny to make a living. So many things. We just need to pay attention.

All it takes is being present in the moment. Having an open mind and curiosity. A willingness to appreciate the simple things. And when we notice nature in its beauty and resiliency, we become uplifted and feel free again.

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