08/29 Back in the US – Walking, Connecting and Lessons

Jacksonville Riverwalk

Jacksonville Riverwalk

Still finding great places to walk and embrace life back here in the US. After helping move our daughter to Jacksonville, last weekend, we made our way down to Jacksonville Beach for a 1 hour walk. Ah, what is it about the sound of crashing waves that soothes my soul. It seems that when you close your eyes, these sounds sucks the stress out of your body. I guess I have retained a bit of the new sense of wonder gained on the Camino finding myself looking at the clouds; the shapes, sizes, color and direction of movement. Last Saturday afternoon while leaving the beach, I found myself admiring the beauty of a majestic thunderhead in the distance, inland from the beach. It seemed to be outlined with rainbow colors. Boy, mother nature sure knows how to put on a show.  After a long work week it is really great to turn everything off for a time. It seems to refresh the brain.

Sunday morning brought on the River Walk on the St Johns River in downtown Jacksonville. Blending time at the beach with this urban setting was a great mix of scenery. A bonus was watching a pod of dolphins in the river 20 feet off shore. This was a highlight to the weekend.

Life Lesson – After returning home from our Camino trek, I was starting to question why I was away for so long, it has been a slow go, trying to get my business consulting business up and running. Maybe I should have stayed home, bla, bla, bla… Last Tuesday, I went to a meeting with a colleague, they were feeling bad and thought they had the onset of the flu. Now eight days later he is fighting for his life. This is so sad. You never know: here is a perfectly healthy guy and a week later, whew. We are all praying…….

This is a reminder to me, life can change at any moment. I am glad I took the time to live and find life on the Camino. If you are waiting to do something important, don’t wait.

Life Lesson # 2 – Connection – My wife Morgan, taught me this habit when we were in Spain. When we were out at a restaurant or café, she would ask the waiter or waitress’s their name. Almost every time, they would light up and grin. Service always picked up….just by showing a sincere interest in their existence. I tried this with a gruff waitress in Jacksonville, she immediately smiled, spoke her name and service improved. Why does my wife always have the right ideas?????

Monday I met with members of the local chapter of the Florida Trail Association. On Monday’s at 5:30, they meet and walk from the Thornton Road parking area for an optional 4 or 6 mile walk. Going east it is a mostly canopied beautiful walk on a newly smooth graded surface. I walked with Ron who is retired from the Postal Service. This walk gives him the opportunity to stretch and grow his distance verses walking around the neighborhood. This is a welcoming group and we had a lively discussion on the return comparing all the concerts each of us had attended…..Who, Eagles, Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney….many good stories and connections came out of this conversation.

Everyone has a story – someone with whom I have walked with during the years is an 18 year old guy named Tyler. He was born at 1lb 5 ounces and spent the first four months of his life in the hospital with tubes and ventilators attached. As a result he is small for his age, has sight issues and sometimes learning is a challenge. These issues also make it hard to be coordinated when participating in sports and learning to drive has been a real contest. In middle school bullying was an issue until his grandparents showed up at the school. Only after threats of gathering all the church ladies to picket the school, did they take notice, and the bullying stopped. Tyler wants to be either a flight attendant, physiologist, or a minister someday. He does not have a mean bone in his body. He gets up every day with a smile on his face and greets life with gusto. For this, he is my hero. Everyone has a story.

In closing we plan to join the Move.Tallahassee.com walk this Saturday at Governors Park and the Fern Trail. I am certain there will be many lively conversations and as we spend this time outside together. This is also a good opportunity to meet and connect with new people.

I urge you to get outside and go for a walk. Let it bring a bit of wonder and joy into your life.

Questions and comments are always welcomed at Gregg.patterson@yahoo.com