As I walked around Denver with Ella on Saturday morning before most of the city had stirred to life, I recognized another great gift I took home from Costa Rica – slowing down to notice. In my adulthood I’ve never had much time or desire to just walk (especially not aimlessly without purpose). Sure I love to hike, I walk the dog every day, and I used to jog. But the walk on Saturday was different. In the past when I’ve walked, it has been with a purpose at a quick pace. I seldom stopped to notice the things that I passed as I walked.
When I was in Costa Rica, I walked out of necessity because I didn’t have a car to take me where I needed to go. The beauty of the wildlife around me in Costa Rica caught my attention, and I slowed down to fully take it all in – the flowers, trees, wildlife and ocean.
On Saturday I was out early because Ella needed a walk, but she certainly didn’t need a full hour walk around Denver. As we ambled around the city, I was drawn in by all there was to see when you slow down enough to notice. Some of it wasn’t good (like all of the trash along the sidewalk); some things were intriguing (like the store that sold magic curiosities, and the old brick school house from the early 1900s that appears to be in the process of renovation); and other things were pleasantly surprising (all the flowers, plants and trees in full Spring bloom, the various sculptures around the outside of the art museum and library, and the passages from Henry Cuyler Bunner’s poem The Heart of the Tree on plaques that lined the grassy area by John’s apartment).
When I finally returned, I enthusiastically shared the tale of my walk with John. Despite having slept only four hours the night before, I was energized for the day. I continued my experience by taking a B Cycle over to the Botanic Gardens for my class about container gardening instead of driving. John grabbed a B Cycle afterwards to meet me for brunch and then we journeyed together for a loop around the park, then to check out the Cinco de Mayo festivities downtown.
That unplanned early morning amble around town set the stage for a full, enjoyable spring day. After our bike ride, we spent the rest of the day with good friends catching up and playing games. I won’t soon forget that fabulous day that started with a walk.