Long Walks On Leafy Streets

4/2/2017 Beach Drive, Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC
Sometimes nature has a way of making you feel special. Yesterday morning I went for a quick six mile run from my home. I ran to Columbia Heights and back. There was a good breeze blowing, making the air feel a little cooler than it was, but it was perfect for running. As I was coming up Kansas Ave I passed beneath a Cherry tree and just at that moment the wind blew, creating a shower of cherry blossom petals. That really lifted my spirits up.

It is not that I was feeling gloomy, although there has been some gloomy news about the environment. The new administration, in the guise of protecting jobs, seems to be happy to completely destroy the environment. While the administration is doing some damage, people are rising up and doing their part to protect the planet. State and city governments in the US as well as pretty much every other country in the world are also increasing their investment in renewable energy and conservation measures.
In general running and meditation have helped me to cope with disappointments and maintain a positive outlook. While meditating, at first many thoughts and feelings arise in the mind like waves on the waters of a still pond. You learn to not react to them and let them fade away naturally. In the same way while running many feelings of discomfort arise at first. Especially when you are tired to begin with or if the weather is not suitable. As long as they are not anything that could damage the body, you learn to ignore them and stay cheerful, maintaining a proper gait, cadence and also breathing properly. This in turn gets the blood circulating well, releases the beneficial hormones called endorphins and in the end creates harmony between the body and mind. The list of beneficial effects of running to the body and mind is very long.

Sometimes I try to take Prashant with me while running. I recently bought a used jogging stroller specifically for that purpose. It has wheels and suspension that provide a comfortable ride to the child even on bumpy roads and trails. Last Saturday we all went to Rock Creek Park. Nicole walked with Prashant in that stroller while I ran. She let him get out and play along the creek for a while, picking up twigs and flowers. He seemed to have enjoyed it quite a bit. Then on Tuesday I did my four-mile loop through the streets of Takoma Park and also the Sligo Creek trail with Prashant. He enjoyed the ride for the most part but at various points wanted to get out and play. Unfortunately it was a bit late in the evening and I could not stop. He does enjoy looking at the cars and people passing by.

Prashant and I are also enjoying the sights and sounds of spring. The Juneberry bush in front of our house is in full bloom as are the Cherry trees in front of his daycare center. Spring also means that the weeds are starting to come out in the yard. It has been a bit too cold lately for the grass and the grass is yet to start growing in earnest. But the purple deadnettle and chickweed are out. One evening I was pulling out some of them while Prashant was playing near me. He started pulling them out in earnest, like a little assistant. He probably got more grass in his tiny hands than the weed plants but it was great to watch him go about it. It truly feels like a dream, his growing up right in front of my eyes.

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