I start the day with a burst of lemon juice in hot water. I feel fresh and good. Some deep belly breaths to relax and then time to walk the dog.
Call me a fresh air junkie, but there’s nothing I like more than a good dose of clean breathing first thing in the morning. I’m sorry but yoga doesn’t do it for me. I can do a few sun salutations but I get bored. I need a changing view, a fresh perspective and a kickstart to my imagination.
Admittedly if it is pouring rain I am easily distracted by other needless tasks, like decorating the living room with freshly washed laundry as there is no tumble dryer. However, given a weekend morning (let’s face it, there is not a minute to spare for breathing never mind walking on a weekday morning) and some sunshine and there is a small, long dog with disproportionately large feet that is wagging his tail and prancing by the front door in anticipation.
Now begs the big question: Who’s taking who for a walk here?
Anyone that knows dachshunds knows the answer to this. Clearly the dog walks the owner, and that is just the way it goes. No amount of puppy school or pockets filled with treats will change the fact that these short-legged adorable creatures are just taking us along for the ride.
I dare to let him off the lead every day, however….
It is just plain annoying having him attached as he either refuses to follow me or tows me in another direction. So we do our independent walks – I decide where I would like to go and he does his own thing on his own timeframe.
Today he decided that he would like to take a dip and it was such pleasure for him that he stayed and lay at the water’s edge. No amount of cajoling could get him to come with me. But boy am I lucky that the view is so good and as I had no choice but to wait a while, I enjoyed it.
Having some time to think, I thought about flowers….and nature…..and happiness.
I am swathed in the stillness of the morning at the beach, surrounded by warm air and the swish of the gentle ocean lapping the sand. I watch clouds of white butterflies darting like ballerinas through the greenery all around. I feel as if it is a private show somehow, as they delicately sip nectar from the hosts of flowers in bloom, dancing from one to the next. What a hedonistic life they lead, feasting on flowers in the Caribbean sunshine with their pure white wings that the fairies missed with their paintbrushes.
I read somewhere once, that our current instant gratification generation takes photos of everything, but we don’t really see anything. I try to spend some quality time with each of my children each week, doing whatever they choose. Yesterday my son asked if we could do some drawing – to look at something and draw it. We sat together on the terrace and drew palm trees and the deck and a swing. He drew things I hadn’t noticed and I drew things he didn’t spot. It was a magical moment of sharing and sometimes we need to step back from our busy lives and look through the eyes of children to really see the world.
There is a wonderful video of Maira Kalman, an illustrator for the New Yorker, following her sketching many things that she sees every day. Likewise, I love this film about the über-eccentric Australian artist Greg Irvine as the sketchbooks that he keeps are truly awe-inspiring.
When I am walking I take time to really look around me, to look at nature and what she has brought me each day. I basically walk the same route each time so I notice when there are fresh flowers opening. Indeed Maira Kalman says, “There is more inspiration walking around the block than I could ever catalogue”.
When the dog is ready, it is usually when our tummies begin to rumble simultaneously, we head home and I feel invigorated and inspired. I take notes and plan what I will write. The cobwebs are gone and the mere fact of being amongst nature and moving my body, animate and motivate the rest of the day.
Do you have a regular walking route?
I thought I would share a piece from one of my treasured books that I had to hunt down online and purchase ex-library (it still has the ticket holders inside) – “Ooh-la-la Max in Love” by Maira Kalman. It is a children’s book, although my children do not appreciate it, perhaps they are too young. It is a little ditty about the city that I love too:
‘I can’t believe it.
Me, Max Stravinsky, in Paris.
Picasso. paté. The opera. Ballet.
The crème de la crème. The city that gleams,
That romantic, extravagantic city of dreams.
Oh pluperfect Paris, just give me a chance
and I’ll toast your beauty, oh Paris of France.’
And if you follow me on instagram jenniefish1974, you will always see the flowers that I saw, but did not draw.