“Where did you walk to?” Cece asked as I was filling my cup with water.
“To where I could smell the trees,” I responded. She looked at me without knowing, without understanding.
“Past the lama fields to the three estates that aren’t developed," I explained. "There’s still so many trees and I can smell the pine in that spot. It makes me feel close to home, to places we love.”
“And out of the suburbs,” she quipped.
She wasn't wrong. In our urban/suburban living, it's hard to find space that has the smell, and feel, of being in undeveloped nature. Park trails are lovely and bountiful, but aren't quite the same. And as someone who finds solace in nature, a place to think and sort through thoughts, this can be problematic. It’s hard to stay grounded, to slow down, to pay attention as life picks back up to pre-pandemic pace. I feel overwhelmed with the barrage of activities, emails, to-dos. My walks are fewer, my senses less grounded.
So when I realized that I hadn’t walked all week, that I was giving my laptop too much power, and that really everything on it could wait, I left quietly to get a moment. I walked a regular route but wanted to feel, and smell, the presence of the outdoors. I went a little further to the undeveloped estates. As I walked down the developed part of the street to narrow undeveloped road, the pine filled my nostrils and I felt relief. Relief that the scent was there and relief that the familiar feeling hit me. My shoulders relaxed a bit and my pace slowed.
I stood for a minute, listening (hopeful for an owl call) and smelling. Then I walked on to the end, circled back and headed home.