I grow younger again in January.

In spite of being only 95% recovered from my illness (a wild guess at a statistic), I started something new today. Pippin and the Professor gave me a Christmas present of a year’s membership in the local regional parks agency. It includes other benefits besides free parking, but my unwillingness to waste that part made me want to use it soon and often. I’d thought that I’d need to drum up a walking companion in order to get myself moving in that direction, but today when the afternoon suddenly opened up, I decided to go on my own to the most familiar of the parks. I’ve written about this one before, most memorably just after my husband’s death almost five years ago.

It’s winter, and I knew there would be a lot of grayness on this mostly gray day; I was (surprisingly) surprised at how much there was to see that wasn’t drab. Some of the regional parks I will visit have no parking fee at all, but this one is $7! So it was a good one to start with, to make me feel the monetary value of my gift — which is surely the least part.

It’s not a huge park, but it is crisscrossed with several trails and I never have a map. In the past it seems we often end up back at the parking lot before we are feeling done, so I was trying to make the widest loop I could around the perimeter of the space. I think I did okay. Where a huge bay tree hangs over the creek, I took this picture in which I already can’t tell where the lines lie between the sky and the tree and the reflections.

In the last several months “everything,” most lately the attack of who knows what viruses, has conspired to make me feel my mortality. Not that I thought I was near death, but in just one year’s time I seemed to have become several years older, weaker and flabbier. I know youth is relative to a point, but I thought my youth might have died. It felt very good to be walking briskly in the fresh air and to be right there under the sky when the sun came out from time to time. It was shining nearly horizontally in my face or my camera lens when it did. Frogs croaked, and towhees hopped about in the bushes.

Have I mentioned that I also put my back “out” just before my battle with the viruses? I couldn’t even do anything about that for weeks, but last Friday I did see a chiropractor and am now on my way to getting back my less flabby self. The weather is of the sort that makes me want to curl up indoors with a book and a blanket, but I have had my warning, and I am going to fight against my tendency to the sedentary lifestyle.

Not far from the descent to the parking lot, I was on a ridge from which I could see across the road below to the vineyards on the slopes beyond. And on my drive home — only ten minutes! — I noticed workers pruning the vines.

January is usually somewhat depressing for me, but this year I have been distracted from the bleak weather by other things that one might think more depressing. It didn’t work that way; I was continually reminded of God’s presence and had so many occasions of joy and contentment, it was obvious that they were pure gift. And this Christmas present from my children — it is a gentle prod to do the things they know I will love. I wonder if I can squeeze in one more park before the end of January?

17 thoughts on “I grow younger again in January.

  1. What a delightful gift and a wonderful walk you had!!! That bay tree is amazing! I pray that you will continue to grow stronger with each passing day. May you feel God’s healing presence and love flowing through and surrounding you always ~ FlowerLady

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My absolutely favorite photo is the near-abstraction of the stones (or wood) and grasses (or moss?) growing among them. Like you, I’m trying to move out of the more sedentary life style that took over thanks to the disruption of my move. The sun is out today, and I’m going to try to arrange my work hours so that I can have a little walk at a nearby nature center during my lunch break.

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  3. sickness and being laid up does make one feel weak but you can, as you are seeing, regain one’s strength. 5 years already since your Husband died! Wow. Time goes so quickly. You have done so much since then, like going to India and other travels. God bless you dear one! I hope you get to another park soon! a HUG!

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  4. Love the photos you took. You would really like our National Trust here in the UK, being a member gives you free parking and access to some wonderful places to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I always love your photos so much and am so glad that you were gifted with the parks pass. Please share more photos when you go to the next one.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful pictures and such a wonderful, thoughtful gift from your children! I find that nothing feeds my spirit more than to get out in nature.

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  7. What a thoughtful and meaningful gift — one of healing, nature and beauty. It sounds lovely and a marvelous tonic. I, too, am grateful that you are recovering. It can be a long slog but this will certainly be a help.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a gift! And you’ve given it to us by picturing your walk. Thank you. I always love “walking with you” and seeing things through your eyes. I hope you are getting better! I have started Pilates (at home with YouTube — The Balanced Life) and it has helped me so much after a difficult summer having a leg issue. Mostly resolved now and I’m getting stronger through the Pilates and my attitude.

    Liked by 1 person

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