Even though it's winter in Ohio, I've been making a point to go for early morning walks in my town on the weekends. Like every other mom on earth, there is very little time for me to be alone to just be me and breathe, so escaping into town to walk before the sun rises is where I've been able to do that.
No one is out when I start climbing the hills in town, and the silence and pre-dawn darkness are just the peace I crave.
As I walk, I take the world in--like really take it in--and just take note of it all. When I was younger, I had such a heart for adventure and wanderlust that I picked up and moved to London without knowing a soul, and then after that, I picked up and moved to Chicago without knowing a soul.
The world seemed to always be calling me, and I knew I needed to answer because one day I would want to put down roots somewhere to dig in deeper than the surface.
Under the wintry sky in a small town in Ohio, I still feel that heartbeat of wanderlust beating in me buried under a day job, bills, marriage and parenthood, but it's still there. My solitary walks are a way for me to check in with that part of me and tell it, "Yes, I hear you. But look at all this."
In town the houses are extremely close to the sidewalks, so I can't help but glance into the windows as I walk past. I see that people are slowly starting to wake up, their kitchens illuminated, allowing me to be a voyeur into their morning rituals of making coffee and moseying over to the fridge.
On my last walk, the house was so close to the sidewalk I saw a sign in someone's kitchen over the sink that read, "Eat Your Veggies" and I smiled and felt a little nosy at the same time.
As kitchen lights came on and the glow from televisions began to emerge in living rooms, I couldn't stop smiling. This small witnessing of humanity and waking up made me feel connected, and feeling connected makes me feel at home, which makes me a happier person in general.
I walked past a nursing home and stood in front of it, picturing older folks tucked in, snoring away in 80-degree rooms. Granted, I think too much and my brain spits out ideas that are off-the-wall every day, but I imagined them as being young again. Once they stood where I stand, juggling the woes of adulthood, and now they rest, I'm sure missing the days I find myself knee-deep in.
I took a deep breath and felt even more convinced this walking and observing is a healthy thing to keep me digging in deep to my own life by being reminded we are all in this together, so appreciate this small moment. And the next.
Too often I quickly go through the motions in life, constantly planning for the future, but these walks slow me down and show me how rich life is if I pause and tend to my roots. I took one last deep breath as I peeked in another window and looked forward to getting back home, where my heart beats the loudest.