Today I took a trip to Wildflower Park. I chose this place because it was close by. It has
been raining the last two days, I have been very sore and achy, and the Monday reentry into my meaningless job left me with a desire to simply go straight home after work and do nothing (This seems to perhaps be the trend that has been locking me so steadfast into my inescapable rut). Unfortunately, despite my overwhelming desire to go home and hide from my life and my emotions of career frustration, I still had a Day Of New to complete. Today was NOT going to be the day I failed. So I chose today to go to Wildflower Park. I chose this place because it was close by, almost on the way home from work. It looked small, and easy, and I figured I could do it quickly on the way home. Not every new thing I try has to be a huge memorable experience.
After a bit of circling, I found parking and made my way towards the trail. It was miserable outside today. Dark gray clouds hung low in the sky, casting their shadows of doom and gloom across Wildflower Park. The cold screaming wind bit into me as I approached, and I wondered if it had really been in the 70s just two days earlier. My initial thought upon seeing Wildflower Park was disappointment. Disappointment that it was bigger than it looked on Google Maps. There was a great pond, and a trail that curved all the way around it. Normally I would be excited that the park was greater than I was expecting. But today the wind felt like ice and I just wanted to go home. So I pulled up my hood and began walking the path. The faster I walked, the faster I could get home.
However, it didn’t take me too long to start to slow down and relax as I embraced the sights of nature. The wild grasses which surrounded the perimeter of the water looked beautiful as they swayed in the strong winds. And with each step I felt a slight sense of excitement that I was exploring somewhere new, even if it was something small. I reflected on how the last few weeks of this experiment have been showing me how multifaceted the world around me is. I had gotten so used to thinking it was flat and
plain, that there was nothing new to see or experience in my hometown. So now with each new thing I find myself experiencing, and each new place I end up visiting, it adds a layer of depth and complexity to my perception of the world around me, continuously expanding the world around me. Even as exhausting as it gets trying to constantly find something new to do in an already busy schedule, it is refreshing too to find myself on little mini adventures everyday. Ok, I accept that most things I’ve done wouldn’t count as adventures to most people, but for me an Adventure is something that pushes me out of my comfort zone while allowing me and my world to expand and grow. My comfort zone was somewhere warm inside, so I immediately knew it was good for me to be out here.
Initially my pace around the pond was fast and motivated. I wanted to get out of the howling wind and back into my warm sheltered car. My pace gradually slowed down as I continued though, and despite the weather I found myself enjoying it. Once again, I realized that when my laziness is strongest, the thought of doing something is much worse than actually doing it. This has been a running theme of this experiment.
I slowed down more until I came upon a bench beside the pond. My initial thought was “there is no way I am going to sit on that bench, I’m getting out of this wind and going home as soon as possible.” And that’s how I knew I needed to just sit down for a minute, stop trying to rush out of there, and just be present for the moment. I accepted the truth that I may never sit at this bench, at this pond, again in my life. This was a fleeting moment in a cascade of fleeting moments, in an ever flowing waterfall of moments tumbling away from me forever, and so I decided to just be present and allow the one present moment to happen. I relaxed and focused on my breathing, and took it all in. I felt the cold air on my skin, and embraced the feeling instead of resisting it. I became aware of the sounds of the cars in the distance, of the airplanes in the sky. I heard the rustle of the trees, branches, and prairie grasses as the wind danced through them. I watched the light sparkling on the surface of the water.
And then, satisfied with my moment of presence, I stood back up and began to continue my walk away from the bench and around the pond. I walked at a slower pace initially, one that gradually increased as I got closer to my starting point, until my car was almost in sight and the screaming wind was howling. I took one last glance at Wildflower Park, reflecting on the surprising moments of peace this park had given me, and then turned for my car and did not look back.