I am an avid outdoors woman. Outdoors is where I feel my truest Self, my most authentic Me. I was born in Tennessee, went to college in Utah, traveled and lived in several western states and then lived in Minnesota for 25 years. Despite the brutal temperatures, I spent many hours of my Minnesota winters cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, skating, slipping on ice, swearing at ice, shoveling snow, hauling in firewood, scraping windshields. Minnesota winters are accompanied by many outdoor activities–not all of them pleasant and not all of them the exercise you had planned on.
Now I live about 15 minutes south of downtown Nashville. Middle Tennessee, where Nashville is located, is blessed with a temperate climate, which means being outside is pretty comfortable year round. (I mention this in contrast to the 25 years I lived in Minnesota.) Here, outdoor activities are much simpler, much easier to access, and much kinder in many ways. We rarely face frostbite or hypothermia. We just don’t do that here. For me this means that my daily walks are dictated more by time than weather. Obviously I dress for the weather–rain, snow, wind, sun, heat and humidity–but I do so knowing that exposed skin is not going to freeze in 10 seconds. This gives me a certain confidence that some (notably my Minnesota friends) might interpret as smugness. To this I say perception is reality.
My favorite walking spot here in temperate Nashville,Tennessee, is Radnor Lake. Radnor Lake is a 1,300+ acre State Natural Area with over 6 miles of walking trails. I have several walking routes based on the time I’ve made for the day’s walk but my favorite walk is to combine the Lake Trail with Otter Creek Road, thus walking all the way around the lake. It’s a walk of about 2.5 miles with stunning views and lots of wildlife. The Lake Trail is mulch and Otter Creek Road, which was at one time a road for vehicles, is paved. Both are easy to walk briskly and a delight on all levels.
Walking is my daily sanctuary, my refilling time, my workout, and my moving meditation. I am an addicted walker and I am blessed to have my favorite walk be less than 3 minutes away. I walk through the woods listening deeply to the squirrels scolding, to the barred owls calling across the lake, to the geese flying overhead, to the turkeys gobbling on the hillside. I watch the silent deer pick their way to the lake for a drink and am captivated by the wind through the trees on the ridges. The lake smells of algae and time in the summer, leaves and dust in the autumn, countless blossoms in the spring, and smells of cold and patience in the winter. Radnor Lake is a place I can absolutely count on to return me to my center, to help me solve my problems, to ease my mind and settle my soul. The walk around Radnor Lake is my favorite walk because in that now familiar 45 minute moving meditation, I know that I am walking myself full circle–from who I was when I started to who I will be when I’m done.