A Walk in the Woods, aka The Reset Button

If ever a political junkie needed to get clean and sober, now is the time.

I’m addicted to watching the tragi-comedy of the election cycle on CNN/FOX/MSNBC, and it’s taking its toll on my mental health. Sure, it has helped my exercise routine: the horror show helps me stay on the elliptical for an otherwise interminable 30 minutes. But last night I had to apologize to the lady on a recumbent bike next to me for my loud grunted outbursts while reading the closed captioning of Donald Trump’s “press conference” — where reporters aren’t miked, his “answers” are how much everyone loves him, how “amazing” everything is, and how much he loves everyone. BLARGHFF!!!

That stuff poisons my soul. It piles up in stress and disgust and unease. Today I recognized that my spirit needed a work-out that could not be found on a machine in front of a screen, a fix that only the calm of nature could provide.

I needed to take a walk.

“Go outside,” my baby group leader counseled us fifteen years ago, as we exhausted new mothers expressed bafflement with babies who couldn’t be consoled. “Stepping outside is like a reset button for a baby.” It worked. And it works for grown humans, too.

I needed mountains and trees. I needed to run, panting until my chest hurt. So I went to my local State Park. When my shoes touched dirt paths that were still drying out from a recent downpour, I felt my reset button pressed. So simple.

The outside worked its magic. It created space for me to feel gratitude.

Gratitude for purple flowers popping up in patches along the path.

IMG_7932

Gratitude for rotting logs with peeling bark.

IMG_7929IMG_7935

Gratitude for vines climbing a tree.

IMG_7933

Gratitude for a burst of yellow when the path emerged from shade into sun.

IMG_7944

Gratitude for the bend in the path, that concealed where it would lead.

IMG_7940

Gratitude, even, for the discomfort that had pushed me to get here. The reset let my mind roam. I thought about words I might write. Sights triggered happiness-boosting memories of earlier hikes here, playing hooky from pre-school, and leaf races in the creek.

When it was time to walk home, I came across something special and temporary – a “Yarn Bombing” in honor of Women’s History Month: a bold explosion of beauty, color, creativity, whimsy, fun, collaboration, generosity, education, history, values and remembrance, created by local artist/writer/actress/activist/mom/craft-goddess Michelle Villemaire. Each tree honors a different woman in history, from Sally Ride to Sacagawea. And each blanket will be donated to the Downtown Women’s Center when the installation is over.

IMG_7948

IMG_7947And who did I happen to see? Michelle herself, fastening a blanket around a “Little Free Library.” Community wrapped in community.

IMG_7957

IMG_7958

Michelle Villemaire poses with the “Rose Gilbert” tree — honoring the late high school teacher Rose Gilbert, with roses knitted by Pali High students

All this goodness came from getting myself outside: out of my house and my car and my TV and my Facebook feed and my head.

But I’m not naive. I know things are not always as simple as “a walk makes everything better.” Problems get thorny. Days get dark.

But the premise holds true: there is always a reset button, there is always a clean slate to be had. It begins with a step outside, a deep inhale of fresh new air, a cleansing exhale, and another step forward. Maybe alone, maybe holding someone’s hand, maybe a little of both. One foot at a time, one step after the other. We can’t know how our journey will unfold, we can see just enough to take our next step. We walk forward, and sometimes beautiful surprises pop up to greet us on our way home.

2 thoughts on “A Walk in the Woods, aka The Reset Button

  1. Reading this post makes me wistful for my hometown.We were down there a couple weeks ago visiting my Mom for her 80th birthday. She moved to an apartment across the street from Pali, near the historic Aldersgate Retreat, a place I never noticed until this past trip:

    http://www.aldersgateretreat.org

    I used to hike various trails in the Santa Monica Mountains often.
    Beautiful photos & an enjoyable read – I call walking in the woods up here “redwood therapy”!

  2. What a beautiful way to start my day!!Thank you for your beautiful words!!xoxoxo -Vick

    From: Laura Nicole Diamond To: victoriafond@yahoo.com Sent: Wednesday, March 9, 2016 2:52 PM Subject: [New post] A Walk in the Woods, aka The Reset Button #yiv0337270687 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv0337270687 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv0337270687 a.yiv0337270687primaryactionlink:link, #yiv0337270687 a.yiv0337270687primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv0337270687 a.yiv0337270687primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv0337270687 a.yiv0337270687primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv0337270687 WordPress.com | Laura Nicole Diamond posted: “If ever a political junkie needed to get clean and sober, now is the time.I’m addicted to watching the tragi-comedy of the election cycle on CNN/FOX/MSNBC, and it’s taking its toll on my mental health. Sure, it has helped my exercise routine: the horror” | |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s