For a better over-all life, PLEASE STAY “ON” THE GRASS.
Not cannabis, but the other green stuff, the lawn-type that connects neighborhood to neighborhood, and if you’re lucky, to a park or a spacious backyard.
Had to kill time getting a windshield repaired in the Greater Northeast of Philadelphia Thursday, and made my way to a public library. Found that I enjoyed walking on manicured strips of grass separating the pavements from the more expansive grasslands leading up to homes near the busy Bustleton Avenue and Red Lion Road area. I noticed immediately how soft and “forgiving” the ground beneath my feet felt, almost gentle-like.
Was the Earth cooperating with my footsteps? It “gave” softly to my touch. It seemed to almost “hug” the contour of my insoles, starting with the pad of the toe and working its way along the outside of the foot and to the heel.
I felt a slight “dampness,” as if it had rained not too long ago. Rain. Hell, we got tons of snow just last month and mounds are still piled up throughout New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. The melted snow must have caused this softening of the ground surface. And a pedestrian like me is now able to garner the benefits house by house, block by block.
Too soon, I run out of grassland. Have to step back onto concrete. The first thing I notice is a jarring “thud” stretching from the flat of my foot through the leg and into the small of my back, where I’ve nursed a sore left lumbar for the past 15 years. It hurts. I mean, I can really feel the difference from the harsh solid stone blocks beneath my feet and the “cushioning” strips of grass.
I rush over th e concrete, but slow down as the pain increases step by step. Where is the next strip? Just ahead, at George Washington High School. But there’s no “strip” here. Have to walk on the actual grass from the pavement stretching out some 100 feet to the classroom windows and entranceway of the concrete school building.
I slow. Begin a “walking meditation.” (For more, see Walking Meditation Nearly Takes a Dive) Conscious of only one step at a time, each foot easing up and stepping over and down to the soft ground. What a blessing to my back, to my connection with the Earth. I think of our Native Americans walking in moccasins, and how they’d journey for miles with just the hide of some animal skin protecting their feet from twigs and small rocks that accumulated on the grounds, the prairies, the woods.
I am in no hurry. My car won’t be ready for at least two hours. Slow down, Michael. Enjoy this gift, this chance to be “one” with nature, even if nature consists of nothing more than the green grass outside city buildings and homes.
Too slow? I wonder what students might say seeing some dude travelling less than speed of a turtle just outside their school. I’m walking incredibly slow, hardly glancing at the ground. I’m meditating. but to a stranger, it may look like I’m on a “zombie” stroll.
Four teenage boys just up ahead. Right in front of the library. Now, if I can get past them without having a PTSD flare-up from some unkind word to this old veteran, I will find refuge inside.
Made it. And learned the grass is greener on the other side of a paved walkway, a concrete civilization. Softer, kinder, and more loving in its natural state.