When Jake died, I worried I would stop going for walks. I thought I might retreat to the cozy interior world of regulated temperature and no wind. Agoraphobia runs in my family. But no - I have continued to walk every day and in fact I often go much further afield than I used to with Jake, because I can. I'll walk wherever I want, following favorite paths or striking out in a new direction. I walk, take pictures. I converse with the sky, trees, land, river. When I get weary, I seek refreshment, then set out again, or just get on the metro and come home.
My daily walks are the center of my spiritual practice, in fact. As a Priestess of Place (I didn't make that up), I act as a diplomat between the seen, like the clouds moving over the landscape, and the unseen, the energy the clouds bring with them and how that is received by the land. I mediate with the intention of bringing the worlds together harmoniously. I should say it's a tricky dance and very hard to see if what I do makes a difference. What's important is that I do my work. Whether it has any noticeable impact is not the focus.
In order to priestess, I have to spend time outdoors, I just have to. Hence I walk. That habit is one of the greatest gifts my dog gave me. Jake showed me the way. He was a great teacher.
One of the reasons this past winter was so rough is that I was unable to take my usual wanders. I tried, but a stiff, gusty, sharp wind when temps are in the 20s F. is a hostile environment. I was a diplomat stepping into a war zone, or so it seemed.
I bundled. I dressed for the weather as best I could. The wind was like a knife this past winter. It sliced through my many layers, tried its best to cut me to ribbons. I wrapped myself up like a mummy, including my face. Then my glasses would fog up. It was too cold to stop and take pictures. The landscape was gray or white, the sky too. It really was not fun, hunched over, rushing down the streets.
There are situations in which shamanic diplomacy does not work. It was a horrible winter!
There were days over winter when I never left the chateau, not even out to the terrace where I usually hang out between clients. I stayed in. I watched a million movies. I cooked a million warm, nutritious soups and stews. I drank a considerable amount of red wine. I read books and the New Yorker. I listened to music. I lived the Rapunzel lifestyle, minus the prince, also minus the witch.
I know people who live like that year-round, going outside only to get in a car even when it's gorgeous. They entertain, go out to dinner, even travel, but spend no time outdoors. Well, wow. Or should I say whoa? If I had to live like that all the time, I would have to take antidepressants. I would need fistfuls. Seriously.
The Voice in the Shower announced yesterday that winter is over. I hope he's right. My spiritual path is extremely important to me. I want to get back to work. C'mon Spring - c'mon.