Grass always greener on non-paved side

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.

8 comments on “Grass always greener on non-paved side

  1. JhanaJian says:

    You are without a doubt the only person I’ve ever come across who can make a whole (and very interesting) blog article about walking on a patch of grass. You are incredible, Michael! Such sensitivity… Such mindfulness.

    Like

    • contoveros says:

      Ah, shucks.
      I bet you say that to all the guys you flirt with on the Internet, JhanaJian. (Just kidding. Why do I always deflect a compliment with humor, or try to avoid simply saying “thanks? I guess it’s my way of saying “I love how you love me.”

      Shook you up with that one, now didn’t I?
      (But, it’s true.)

      michael j
      lovin’ the fact you’re a woman, not a man. I couldn’t say half of the stuff I say if you were any different.

      Like

  2. Sunryo says:

    Interesting post, as always, Michael.

    I have not really tried walking meditation, although I’ve heard of it many times. Perhaps when I walk each day during my breaks at work, it is meditating in a way. I know I feel much better and clearer after doing so.

    Anyway, I wanted to mention to you a story I heard about an architect who designs his building with this point of walking in mind. I wish I could remember his name, but it eludes me at the moment. He would design each section of floor to be uneven and random… mentioning that walking on flat surfaces deadens our feet. I thought it was a very good point when I heard it and wouldn’t it be great if all floors made us actually pay attention and “walk” mindfully on them.

    Namaste,
    Sun

    Like

    • contoveros says:

      Sunryo

      You just described a meditative Utopia. When you complete this structure, let me know. I’ll be your first tenant. Slowly walking along the “unpaved” path to the entanceway to “Sun’s” House.

      michael j

      Like

  3. A doctor mentioned to me a while ago that walking on the grass is far more healthy than walking on pavement. I guess it’s logical, really. I notice a difference – and I have no back problems. My knees are thankful though.

    One of the speakers at the ADD conference mentioned that he has no time for “actual meditation” (his words) so, like you it seems, he meditates while walking, just paying attention to every step, and all of the muscles involved in the movement.

    Like

    • contoveros says:

      Wolf,

      That’s how it is done. Step by slow step while nudging out thoughts and simply “being” mindful of the present moment, and the feel of simply walking.

      michael j

      Like

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