Daily Walk

Tea Tree

It's important for me to walk everyday for at least 20 minutes preferably longer in order for me to stay off prescription drugs for my high blood pressure. I also need to stick as close as possible to a plant based diet. And keep my stress level down by not working in a high pressure environment. It's called Lifestyle and I am learning to live a healthy lifestyle. 

This morning, my partner and I went for a walk, a nice 40 minute walk towards one of our regional parks. We meandered through the neighborhood, and a new development that has blocked out the view of the hills, oak trees, and beautiful sunsets lighting up the valley. It used to be a large dairy farm nestled in a piece of heaven. Now, it is bulldozed covered in large towering modern looking apartment buildings and expansive homes. The virus is not stopping development. The construction workers, men in white helmets wearing orange and brown were plentiful.

Reaching the road to the park, we waved at the sheriff exiting the park. My hope is there will be vigilance keeping out the people who litter and dump their sewage into the nearby creek. So far, so good. We didn't climb the hill to the trails leading up to the mountain, we chose a muddy path crossing a small brook gently walking across the rocks to reach the other side. My partner held my hand helping me as I tried not to slip and fall in the caked mud leading back to the neighborhood. 

There is a small open space area a few blocks from our current home rich with wildlife. A herd of deer take naps in the small grove of trees. Passing by, we watched two black crows diving a hidden menace near their nesting spot. We stopped and watched until they flushed out the predator. Later identifying him possibly as a Prairie Falcon. Evicted by the crows, he landed high up in one of the trees allowing us the opportunity to note his markings and color so I could look him up in my tattered field guide at home. 

Heading home, we stopped at our familiar area to rub onto our hands, the feathering leaves of the sweet smelling anise, the wild growing fennel prevalent in our area. Large drops of rain hit the pavement when we reached home.

At the house, I found an app from the Audubon Society. The app has a field guide that uses your location to help you identify birds including the most vulnerable in your area. You can post photos to help their scientists record information to track how climate change and human impact affect bird populations. I am excited about using this app on upcoming hikes. 140 million observations from birders and scientists have been recorded so far. You can find the app, by searching Google Play for Audubon Society and upload to your cellphone

I am learning to navigate this virus that has impacted so many. It's a daily challenge to live a full life while others are suffering and when there is a chance I could succumb to the virus as well. I will not live a life of fear (like my friend does, who texts me daily infection and death counts). I cherish this gift of life and will use it up fully while living with empathy and compassion giving like I always have when I have enough to give. Enough is a small threshold for me.

I live simply with material items amounting to what can fit in the small trunk of a car. I don't require much to maintain my level of comfort and happiness. Healthy food, safe water, and shelter with space and time for creative pursuits is a right I believe all of us should have and if we decreased the amount of energy wasted and wanton consumerism, there would be enough for each and all of us. It is our choice. Do we live modestly, and share. Or do we take more than what we need? And live in a world where there is suffering that can be prevented.

I am reminded of when I was four years old. My mom wanted me to be on Romper Room- a popular children's television show at the time. She drove across the bay bridge for my interview at Jack London Square, at the local tv stations studio, in Oakland. Under the bright lights with a small audience, I was interviewed by the production crew and chosen to be on Romper Room. 

I don't remember too much about Romper Room, except one day during the week long studio recording, a basket of cookies was handed to the children at the long table starting at the beginning to the end where Miss Mary Ann sat. I was seated a child or two away from Miss Mary Ann, who was bigger than life in my eyes. When the basket reached me, one of the kids sitting next to me, nudged me to take two cookies. I paused. It didn't feel right. The kid nudged me again, saying we can have two. So, I took two out of the basket. Miss Mary Ann watched as I took the two cookies. Later, after the filming stopped, she took me aside and gently told me that I was only supposed to have one cookie, so that everyone had the chance to have a cookie too.  I remember, my cheeks burning. I felt probably shame. And remorse. I really didn't want that extra cookie. I was prodded to take it, and I fell for it.

For years, remembering that time, I felt a bit of shame. Now. I don't. I know I was so little, only four years old, I couldn't stand up for my own convictions yet. I was easily swayed.

And I have continued to be swayed, even as an adult, to take too much. More than what I need.  I still do. During this virus, I have purchased more food than we what we really need. My pantry is packed and I have been overeating. I still have challenges to work on and be aware of.

As a community, I hope we take a closer look at our own consumption, instead of pointing fingers at others that are taking what we think is ours. Making some of us, "others" who are not deserving of clean water, safe food, and shelter because of their immigration status or work status or whatever we choose to make them out as, someone or some group who should not have what we have.  This to me is the ultimate act of selfishness and greed. I know we are better than this. 

We just have to be reminded that there is enough for everyone to have their basic needs met. One cookie is enough.

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