Finding Your Zen

Last Thursday I sprained my ankle while running at Parvin State Park. To be more precise, I sprained my ankle while casually stepping out of the way for an old couple walking on the narrow trail and stepped on a root that I didn’t see because I was exchanging pleasantries with the old man. Luckily I was with a friend who supported my weight until I got to the parking area and was able to get to the ER for the x-rays and assurances that I should just stay off it for a while. That’s what I would have done anyway. The unfortunate incident has caused me to cancel no less than 3 trips I had planned already.

My friend texted me with regret that I wouldn’t be able to join her in New Paltz, NY this weekend for the hike we had planned. She wished me well and mentioned that the outdoors is where a lot of my zen comes from. It was a simple comment, but it got me thinking about how being active outside affects me and, more to the point, how being stuck inside affects me. I’m all for staying in and watching Netflix sometimes, but at least some part of every day for me involves going outside. It could be for a run, a walk, a bike ride, kayaking, hiking, or just taking a walk around the neighborhood with a friend. Without the (even slight) immersion in nature I start to change for the worse.

Staying inside is a creeping demon that suddenly has stolen your day then your week, and before you know it you’re mindlessly staring at your computer monitor like there’s nothing beyond it. When that realization took over for me after several days primarily spent in a chair with my leg elevated, ice pack melting onto the floor, I knew I had to do something. So I crutched down the street to the Maurice River Trail where I’ve been going for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t so graceful, but it was great to be outside.

There’s always an excuse to start something later. Start on Monday or the first of the month or New Year’s Day because that method is burned into our minds. I like the idea of starting this on a Tuesday in the middle of October; a day with no consequence. So I started recording and putting into action my plan to get outside daily and document where I go. The plan is to challenge myself to be outside more often even if it’s painful to walk (or crutch.) I also want to document my photographic process and push myself to try new things and get better at the photo techniques I already employ. This is the beginning of that journey. The video is below. Enjoy! Thanks for watching.

P.S. – I apologize for some of the focus issues. Let me know if you have any thoughts or ideas on how I can make these better and continue to improve the idea!

Here’s where to find the trail. It doesn’t show up on Google Maps, but it starts right at the end of Mulford Ave. and follows the river for about a mile.

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