all in a day’s walk in the park

“With beauty before me, may I walk
With beauty behind me, may I walk
With beauty above me, may I walk
With beauty below me, may I walk
With beauty all around me, may I walk
Wandering on the trail of beauty, may I walk”

Navajo: Walking Meditation

Did someone say walk???
As in a stroll?
As in an outing?
As in outside?

And so as the notion of a nice leisure stroll was considered…
we decided to venture out for a walk.

We ventured forth…
We ventured out.
We ventured up
And we ventured away…

Away throughout a city that magically transforms itself into something else and
into something so much more…

But it takes a bit of really hard looking…looking in just the right places…
to see what makes a certain ordinary and otherwise crowded, noisy place…
something so much better than what one quickly sees when looking at things with a cursory
first glance.

All strapped in and ready go, after multiple outfit changes, we departed…

We first walked the three-mile loop around Chastain Park.
A 268-acre wedge-shaped park, the largest park in the city of Atlanta that happens
to be in the northeast area of the city and only about 3 miles from where I grew up.

It’s a park where I first learned to swim.
The park where my dad took me when I was a little girl to go sledding in my first
real snow.
The park where I attended the yearly Brownie and Girl Scout jamborees.
The park where my brother played little league baseball.
The park with the swingset where I secretly rendezvoused meeting the boy I had a
crush on in the 8th grade…
And the place where my mom learned to play tennis…a game that actually helped
my mom find her own place in life.

Originally the land belonged to the Creek Indians but in 1840, 1000 was acquired by the
state of Georgia.
There would be built an almshouse and a TB sanatorium as well as a paupers cemetery.
Eventually, in the mid-1940’s, a golf course was designed, a community pool was built,
an amphitheater was created, riding stables and a barn were added as well as
cabins and cookout areas….as the almshouse and sanatorium were eventually transformed
into a private school.
A school that has only grown in size and scope along with the growing park.
Chastain is now the site of the city’s major outdoor concert venue.

But we were ready and even excited to take in what this transforming area had to offer…

Walks and parks are always good for both body and soul.
But they can be exhausting…

Here’s to many more days of walks in the park…

Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you,
so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

Deuteronomy 5:55

letting go

That old September feeling… of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air…. Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes and failures had been wiped clean by summer.
Wallace Stegner

There is more to life than increasing its speed.
Mahatma Gandhi

“Detachment, properly understood, means freedom, inner freedom. And, although it is not a word Jesus used, detachment expresses very well an important element in his spirituality: the ability to let go. In the Christian tradition this has been spoken of as “purity of heart” or as the process of becoming “poor in spirit.”
― Albert Nolan

DSC02676
(a persimmon ripens in a September sun / Julie cook / 2015)

Wandering recently on an off beaten path, I was sweetly reminded that my very soul was gently slipping into a quieting and calming pool of serenity.
I basked in the overwhelming stillness.
Lovingly engulfed, I was warmly embraced as I found myself caught up in the slowing down of one season as it began the transitioning and metamorphosing into something new, different and welcoming.
I exhaled.
And happily felt myself letting go. . .

DSC02674
(persimmons ripen in a September sun / Julie cook / 2015)

DSC02672
(persimmons ripen in a September sun / Julie cook / 2015)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9