Friday, January 11, 2013

dear Olivia // when you walk

[January 2013]
Dear Olivia,
When you walk, don't do it because you have to. Don't hook leash to collar and listen to the jangle of dog tags simply because Toby needs exercise. Do it because you want to, because strolling through the neighbourhood is fun and beautiful and wouldn't you rather breathe outdoor air, anyway?

Don't walk just to get it done. To check something else off your to-do list for the day, to keep Toby happy and healthy and maybe to get a little exercise. And there's nothing wrong with having a happy puppy, or doing a little exercise yourself. But don't do it to get it done. The days are beautiful and precious, and they're slipping by faster than you think.
When you walk, pay attention. Don't stare at the sidewalk and give a little tug on the leash and think about how many more steps and stops and scoops you'll have to do before you're home again. Look around. Breathe deep, slow down, and watch. Always watch. Look at the sky, the bare trees, the snow. Watch Tobe prance down the sidewalk like he owns it all.
When you walk...experience. Listen with the ear of a musician, see thing with the eyes of an artist, and describe and imagine like the writer you're trying to be. Don't be content to hunch down inside your coat collar, face turned away from the cold. Open your eyes and love it, because the house is warm and you'll be home soon. Feel everything, and find words to fit it all. Make new ones when old doesn't fit anymore.

Just don't wish it away. Don't walk faster to get it done, because there's riches unmeasured in a good, long walk. Things are better thought through in the outdoor air, so don't be afraid to take your time.
And sometimes take your camera, because it will remind you to keep your gaze outward, always searching for beauty.


  1. That was lovely.

    Maybe I'll take one of my dogs on a walk today and remember to appreciate the beauty.

    1. It's something I was mulling over on a walk Wednesday afternoon. :) Glad you enjoyed!

      :) I'm going to do the same.

  2. Keep doing what you're doing!

  3. I try to pay attention and look for beauty when I go on walks.

    Funny thing about walks, it's always so hard to make myself walk out of the house but when I have I'm always glad I did :)

    1. Lydia, I agree completely. When I go, all I want to do is come home again...but while I'm out, I get so inspired! (if I'm having trouble with a writing project, walks with Tobe are usually where I work myself out of writer's block, as well.)


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