Just Life

Meandering.

Growing up, the years we lived in Wyoming (1971-1976), my folks loved taking a Sunday afternoon drive. After lunch, the whole family would pile into the station wagon and we’d set out, with no destination in mind (at least not to my 10-year old mind!). We meandered over mountains and dirt roads (literally), and if there was a stop for ice cream, or dinner, we kids felt truly rewarded. As an adult, I’ve never been much for the Sunday drive. honestly, I’m not much for any kind of driving, and driving without a specific destination is completely foreign (although I have been known – especially these last few months – to take “the long way home” to enjoy more time with an audiobook, or simply the joy of being out of the house).

I do, however, love to meander (gosh, even the word itself evokes serendipity) … on foot, and lately, in my mind. One of my favorite meandering times is the set course I run to the lake (and back). The steady(ish) pace of my feet on the asphalt matching my breaths allows my mind the space it needs to wander aimlessly. Some Sundays that space has made room for prayer, but today, it felt simply free.

When I started the early Sunday morning weeks back, I arrived at the lake almost too late to see the sunrise. Today, I was twenty minutes too early. The sky was just starting to brighten (and the landscape light at the base of that tree to the right lit the whole frame). Wow, the days are really starting later!

That lake view is almost to the halfway point (when I started these runs, it was the halfway point, but now the 15 minutes I run “out” takes me almost another 1/4 mile!)

We live in a hilly neighborhood and it seems like the entire run out is downhill. so yeah, the entire run back seems uphill. I was just catching my breath after the steepest uphill when I spied this. Where could it have come from? how did it get there?

This sign always makes me smile – it’s at the top of the last really steep uphill (and you can see the downhill coming … like I said it only “seems” that the entire run back is uphill), about 3/4 of a mile from home, and I wonder … what about this Way IS Wrong? A few weeks back there were some pink clouds visible in the distance behind the sign … surely that’s the Right Way?

My meandering mind also thought about a few of those Sunday drives from the early 1970’s, my mom (who turns 82 today!!) and the birthdays we’ve shared, the changing seasons (mostly wishing for cooler temperatures and for the sun to not rise quite so late – clearly not both possible), the day ahead, the week ahead, what I’m going to read next, knit next. And sometimes, nothing at all except where that next step is coming, and that next breath.

I’m now running three mornings a week and I hope I can keep it up. It’s just 3-1/2 miles at a time, so it seems like I can. my body feels good. and so does my mind.

Where do you like to meander?

 

13 Comments

  • Honore´

    I’d love to meander to that lake – what a view! Much meandering in my mind, stimulated by Nature and authors’ words and my own inner peace.
    This is a lovely post and many happy days and best wishes to your Mom! Enjoy the celelbration.
    Cheers~

  • Vera

    Nothing wrong with meandering at all – I do it all the time!

    When I first got my driver’s license my friends and I would drive all over – trying to get lost – lol. I do remember Sunday drives as a kid. I loved them. During the summer when we were at the lake in Vermont, we would always take a drive after dinner looking for deer as it became dusk. Fun times.

  • Kat

    I remember going with my Nana when she would pick up donations for variety of things (back to school and holiday baskets, mainly) but it was so much fun. I loved going with her! (As I recall, we had lots of “The Summer Book” style conversations… my nana had the patience of a saint!) And Steve and I have been doing some “meandering” on those few occasions we head out to run errands… it is lovely to just spend a few minutes looking at different scenery, which often spurs different conversations! (I think that was the purpose of the drives… to be in an environment where you are “captive” and spend some time talking!)

  • Sarah

    I used to like to meander through my neighborhood on walks, but since we’ve been at home and I’ve been out almost every day, it’s all starting to feel familiar! I’ve definitely focused on trying to notice new things along the familiar route, though, which this summer has meant new flowers growing, new signs going up on lawns, and (especially lately) new messages written on the sidewalk in chalk (like “Save the USPS” written around mailboxes). My new favorite thing about wandering the neighborhood is seeing how many cute dogs I can spot out for walks!

  • karen

    I grew up in the city and we used to do that to as a family. Most of the times we ended up stopping for ice cream so I was all in for any kind of ride. When my husband and I started dating we would take back roads to see where they would take us, only taking the map out if it was absolutely necessary!

  • Bonny

    I’m not much for meandering as it usually feels like I’ve got somewhere to go and something to get done, but like you, I have been taking the long way home when I’m out. Since I’ve been meditating regularly I can relate to the next step, next breath, or oftentimes just this breath. That is a lovely lake shot!

  • Patty

    What a lovely post Mary! We’re not big meanderers (not a word!) but I certainly do in my mind! Once in a while my friend JoAnne and I get in the car to just drive around and see what’s up around town. (I live with someone who likes to have a plan!)

  • Jeannie Gray

    Sounds like you have a lovely running route. I miss running but I messed up my knee to badly to ever run again. It’s amazing how much clearer your mind gets and the ideas/solutions that come to you when running rather than walking.

  • Karen

    It is a lovely post, and brought back memories of Sunday drives when I was growing up in Kansas. Once we moved to Ohio, those drives seemed to end. This Sunday we meandered on our way home from a bike ride on the Lehigh Valley Trail, looking for entries to the Greenway Trail which was closed where we wanted to get on. It’s an 80+ mile trail, and it appears that most of it in our area is closed for improvements. A woman on the trail we rode said she thought it would open up soon. I’m guessing it will be a beautiful ride come fall.

  • kym

    It’s always so funny to think that . . . both of us lived in Wyoming at the same time! I mean . . . there are just not that many people who LIVE in Wyoming to begin with, and to think that both of us occupied that space (albeit different cities) at the same time is just kind of mind-boggling to me. 😉

  • Jane

    Well then. My husband and I lived in Cheyenne from 1979 – 1983. Our children were born there. This week I’ve had a meander through my book lists to make some general plans for autumn reading.

  • Alexa

    What a lovely word is meandering … so permission-giving, and gentle. Your lake view looks very serene, and I am in awe of your running schedule. Here, I like to meander in the hills and woods close by. No lakes, but burbling streams – and lots of up and down too!