I am an avid walker and hiker in large part thanks to all the four legged companions I've had over the years. My latest dog, Daisy, entered my life during the pandemic after the sudden death of my ten year old rescue lab, Ellie.
Daisy is an all-or-nothing kind of gal. She is either enthusiastically greeting the people and dogs she meets during our brisk walks or she is curled up asleep somewhere making sure that some part of her body is touching some part of yours. Since Daisy entered my life, walking or hiking daily is no longer optional but these daily outings satisfy more than the need for exercise.
It is a time where I meditate, clear my head and center my breath.
I often walk in an oak tree forest. In addition to the oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, there are pines, river willows, sycamores and an abundance of wildflowers in the spring. The fauna changes depending on the time of day but there are deer, squirrels, and even an occasional skunk on the trail. There are many birds and the sound of woodpeckers accompanies us as we walk. It is a time to steep myself in gratitude for nature, for beautiful San Luis Obispo County, for puppies and for the people who are dedicated to animal rescue.
I find incredible peace, calm and clarity walking in the forest and I savor the time I am unplugged from the Internet and untethered to the inbox. How often do we get the opportunity to just be with our own thoughts? As wedding season approaches, I look forward to sharing with you more of what I find out when this rabbi walks in the forest.