A Walk in the Desert
A Walk in the Desert
As you pray, move your feet.
Tolle talks about people who walk out in nature while listening to their earbuds, talking on their phone and doing other activities that take them out of being present. I realized I really have enjoyed listening to music and podcasts while walking my dog, but that in doing so, I am missing out on being 100% present.
For the past two weeks, I have walked my dog without using my phone except to take one picture of a flower or cactus. In this short period, I’ve realized a difference in the rest of my day. I feel calmer and my mind does not go (as bonkers) as it used to. In fact, when my mind starts to go astray, I can bring it back to the present much faster now.
We were walking behind our lovely Airbnb off Route 66 in Parks, AZ (to get away from three-digit temperatures)…
in a National forest…when Ava I noticed something hopping about.
This lovely creature is the Arizona Treefrog!
According to reptilesofaz.org, this is their call (audio file). We think it sounds like a bunch of muppets.
The Arizona Treefrog grows to 1.5 inches. They breed in mostly temporary waters, which I find strange because they look like they need a lot of water.
“In Arizona, Arizona Treefrogs have been found to feed on beetles, spiders, earthworms, flies, and bark beetles. They likely feed on a variety of other small invertebrates, as well.”
This finding was a lucky one as they are nocturnal animals. However, it appears that their skin is toxic and holding them is not the best idea. Oops. Well, I didn’t feel any after effects. My family is doing a collective eye roll as I tell them this because I once caught this in a jar:
According to Sciencefriday.com, being stung by one of these is painful. Quite painful:
“The pain is so debilitating and excruciating that the victim is at risk of further injury by tripping in a hole or over an object in the path and then falling onto a cactus or into a barbed-wire fence.”
Aren’t you glad I passed this on to you? Now you’ll be extra careful when you try to catch one.
From Ryan Holiday’s Thought Catalog blog:
#2: Take a Walk
Clear your mind and experience nature. Move!
I love taking walks. I’ve had epiphanies and inspiration while walking in the desert. Strolling elevates my mood. Before you veg out in front of your screen to “relax” (by watching a video, movie or scrolling through Instagram)…go take a walk. You’ll feel refreshed.
Everyone ought to have a quiet place to walk.
Move your body and quiet your mind – this is the opposite of what most of us do most of the time.
Which is healthier? A busy mind and lethargic body or a quiet mind and a moving body? An overactive mind thinking negative thoughts is the root of our stress and addictions.
Desert in the summer
means walking the dog at sunrise
rabbits chew and quail run
We cast small shadows
the spaces between needles of the cactus
are the gaps between my thoughts
This morning, my husband and I woke up, started making coffee and wondered out loud, “Should we make coffee and THEN walk, or walk and come back to coffee?” Since the Arizona weather has cooled, we’ve started a new weekend ritual: while our daughters sleep in, we go for a walk with Opal, our pitbull rescue. We have been going to a new park next to the elementary school in our community. The design includes a winding walkway, a water pump, simple signs describing wild life and cacti and of course, quail, jackrabbits, ground squirrels, roadrunners, gila woodpeckers, mourning doves, cactus wren and various cacti.
We’re out for an hour or so. Yesterday, we went to the new park. This morning, we walked in Usery Park. We walk down several blocks from our home and cross a wash and voila! Usery. It’s protected and the plants there survive without any irrigation, it’s xeriscape at it’s best. Opal darts in and out and inevitably catches cholla on her paws. But she’s in heaven and so are we.
Walking in nature, one feels a sense of peace unmatched in one’s daily life. The open, blue sky above….the vast landscape of untouched nature ahead….the utter joy of one’s dog leaping and chasing jackrabbits and then limping back to us, asking us to remove thorns from her paw. It’s times like these, where you feel you’re really looking at the Big Picture and you realize what is truly important: love and presence.