Today’s walk turned into a complete pleasure experience that filled my senses and connected me to nature and myself.
I take a neighborhood walk on most days to support my body’s health and well-being. Today, I decided to change it up and drive to a local state park along the lakeshore. The weather was perfect with a vibrant blue sky, light breeze, and temperature in the 70’s. I had no deadline and no agenda, other than move my body and take some pictures.
First, I took the boardwalk through the sand dunes leading to the water. It was expansive and quiet, except for the sound of the wind, the rustle of beach grass, and the distant crash of waves as the water met the shore. I felt the breeze caress my face and hair.
The destination at the end of the boardwalk was the beach and Lake Erie. I love that this end of the park is left natural and ungroomed. There are interesting pieces of driftwood, plants, and small treasures to find in the sand. I stood mesmerized as I watched the waves roll in with a steady rhythm, yet each wave was distinct and beautiful. I loved watching the water as it splashed up white, like a small firework exploding, until it the water droplets fell back to the sand and receded into the lake. Time seemed to stand still.
When I turned back to go down the boardwalk again, I met a friendly couple who looked to be about my age. They told me that they were on vacation from Alabama and just had to visit Lake Erie while here. We connected with smiles and pleasant words about the beauty of the lake. I came to the park alone, but I certainly wasn’t lonely.
After I got back to the main paved walkway between the parking lot and the beach, I turned on my fitness watch to count my steps and track my heart rate. However, instead of pushing my body, I kept being distracted by the beautiful sights of nature around me: the trees, the vegetation, the sky, the beach, the water, the leaves, and more. I allowed my pleasure take the lead instead of my fitness watch. I let my body go where my eyes wanted to see. I stopped to listen with my eyes closed and feel the air on skin. I left the path to investigate something when I was curious.
I felt my watch vibrate and I read the message, “Did you finish your workout?” Yes. This walk had evolved into a different purpose.
I committed to pleasure as I continued along the path. My pace was slow to allow all of my senses take in my experience. Whenever something piqued my interest, I stopped to take it all in: the sight and sound of leaves rustling in the wind or a beautiful arrangement of driftwood or the imprint of my shoe in the sand.
I love looking at trees: the circumference, shape, and texture of their trunks, their arrangement of branches, and the movement of their leaves. Each tree is so unique, even in a group of trees that are the same species. Trees are like human bodies. They are all shapes and sizes. Sometimes trees in a grove look similar, but when you pay attention, each one is distinct. I’m reminded of the beauty of my own body when I see older thick-trunked trees with twisted branches and lots of character.
Near the end of my walk, I felt inspired to hug a tree. I wanted my body to physically connect with the nature around me. I chose a sturdy, generous trunk with wavy bark. I got as close as I could, connecting my whole body from my knees to my head and I wrapped my arms around it. I felt the texture of the bark against my cheek as I closed my eyes and breathed into the tree. I felt connected to the earth and the sky. I inhaled and exhaled deeply. That tree and everything around it, seemed to embrace me too.
I’m beyond grateful for my amazing body. My legs and feet carried me through my pleasure journey. My eyes filled me with beauty. My ears enabled me to hear the sounds of the water and the leaves in the trees. My skin and hair felt the caress of the wind.. My nose and mouth took in the fresh lake air that filled my lungs.
As my walk ended, I felt connected, self-full, and completely satisfied. Spending time in sensuality with nature gave me a pleasure buzz. An open heart, mind, and spirit without an agenda or expectation enable me to receive the gifts that are here for me. I am content.