A friend asked me once, “Do you ever do anything or go anywhere other than walk your dog around the block?” The answer was and is, “Yes of course.”
In the decade I have lived in my semi-urban Washington DC neighborhood and enjoyed the company of my shaggy canine, I have traveled to many places and enjoyed epic visuals: blueblack Norwegian fjords flanked by soft green mountains, Bob Marley’s wildflower gardens high in the Jamaican hills, the pastel palaces of St. Petersburg.
I have not been deprived of soul-stirring sights.
There is a singular magic, however, to exploring the same city block almost every day in every season. As you round the familiar corners, you see nature unfold like a visual symphony, a time lapse photograph, the frames of God’s grand animated design.
Each day there is a new wonder as the trees and wildlife on my block cycle through the seasons. This evening, for instance, I inhaled spring’s first fragrance: the sweet lemon-rose scent of my neighbor’s honeysuckle. Each day more birds arrive. They are livelier and noisier as they swoop through my small stand of bamboo and the neighboring maples and evergreens. The dogwood, which until today was tightly furled, is now showing tiny edges of unfolding pink petals. The white cherry blossoms, undaunted by chilly days and rain, are blooming exquisitely on silver branches.
Every day, every season, reveals itself on my square block. Unlike the vast ungraspable vistas one views from a car, boat, train or plane, my tiny world can be touched, smelled, felt with fingers. It is nature simple, palpable, attainable, comprehensible. It is a wise and gentle tale, a proverb from God, a koan. It is all I need and I am so very grateful.