on the trail

I did an hour of yoga yesterday, followed by a two-hour walk on the Beltline Trail. I had to persuade myself to do both. What I felt most like doing was just the best kind of nothing: breakfasting, poking around the internet, editing photos, avoiding housework. That pretty much summed up my morning. I toyed with the idea of just making a day of lolling about, but I knew how I’d feel landing on the other side of movement, and the potential for that body bliss trumped slackerdom. I hadn’t been on the mat for a week, feeling just too spent after my regular 10-hour work days followed by errands most evenings.  All the more reason for pushing myself firmly and in a straight line towards the mat—before I had time to talk myself out of it. I was aware of every tight band of muscle, the angry tendonitis in my right elbow, my quivering abs, the howling in my lower back and locking of my left hip, the breath I was holding instead of releasing. I didn’t feel awakened, I felt mildly annoyed with everything and nothing in particular, searching for steadiness on the mat. It wasn’t a practice I enjoyed this time, feeling every measure of every ache, but completing it was deeply satisfying. Plus I drifted towards sleep in Savasana … Long week, like I said.

I walked on a stretch of the trail that I’d never been on—the most northerly point—and was surprised to find that it just wasn’t as lush or diverse as I’d expected, with more bicycles on tailored paths and less woodland cover. And when my sandal began rubbing away a neat little patch of skin on the top of my foot, I was ready to head towards the nearest path in the direction of transit. Instead, I found a Band-Aid in my bag, plastered my foot and made myself stay the course for another hour. And I was glad I did. Because as is often the case when you push past the mundane and dig into the challenge, something sweet lies in wait if you’re willing to greet it. Including a robin who alighted unusually close and stood in silence surveying me for a few minutes, as if to say: See how fortunate you are to be here? Now go and make something good of it …

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