This time of year is gorgeous in Florida. When most people are hunkering down for a long, cold winter, we are finally able to be outside all day long. It is sunny with a cool breeze. A little rain here and there adds to the cozy fall mood. So, my month long challenge is going to involve being outside, writing and photography.
My kids and I plan to walk around our neighborhood lake everyday this month. We walk around it a lot already, so it might not seem like much of a challenge - but I think the daily habit will be transformative.
We are very lucky to live by Lake Morton. It is one of the places I have always loved. As a kid, we came to the lake to feed the ducks, and I always knew that if I were to live here I would want to live near this bird sanctuary that is packed with swans, wood storks, aningas, great blue herons, geese, bald eagles and mallards. So, now I do. For the last 10 years we have lived just a few blocks from it. I walked around it trying to convince my first child to leave the womb; I have walked it with babies in slings and strollers. I remember when each kid could walk the whole mile on their own and now with three big kids, we can stroll the lake with no problem at all.
My husband walks or bikes by the lake on his way to work. My daughter and I used to meet him with a picnic dinner when our family was just three. My son fell in the lake with a freshly broken arm and a stroller filled with books from the nearby library rolled into the lake once. We have seen art, fireworks, and protests all from the shores of Lake Morton.
The secret about this lake (and anyplace in nature) is that it is never the same. We see something new EVERY time we walk around it. Everytime. A new flower in bloom, an alligator that should not be there, a hawk eating a duck, new ducklings and cygnets (their numbers getting smaller as the days progress). Stories and narratives unfold the more frequently we go.
So this month, we will go, and watch, and record and feel deep gratitude for a place so near to our home and hearts.
Is there a place near you like this? A place that is woven into the intimate fabric of your life, but begs to be more deeply regarded?