Taking a daily walk is also an incredible source of pleasure for me, as it has been for many artists before me. One of the things I love about Japan is the tradition of sketching and writing poetry while walking through the countryside. This woodblock is an example from of one of my favorite Japanese artists -Utagawa Hiroshige.
This year in particular, the imminent arrival of fall with it’s shorter days reminds to me to slow down and savor the fruits of the harvest as I enter the next stage of my life. Having just finished menopause, I am now looking forward to beginning a review of the creative work I have done so far. Through this process, I hope to have a better idea of where my creative work wants to go in the next half of my life.
While I was in Japan this past spring, I noticed so many books about walking and sketching or writing poetry. With the most rapidly aging population on earth, as well as the longest life span, I think that the Japanese are on to something here. As we age, taking time to connect with nature on a regular basis by walking while expressing ourselves in art and poetry seems to be a wonderful way to connect more deeply with ourselves while replenishing the creative well within.
This past week, as my son and I have been out walking by the light of the full moon, I have been amazed by how much the same terrain is transformed when bathed in mo0nlight. Walking together has become a special time for us. While we are out, he loves to recite his favorite cartoon dialogues for me, blow bubbles and dance in the streets with our dog. As the mother of a child on the autistic spectrum, I have often found it difficult to share the kind of interactions that are more common for other families, like a conversation with eye contact. To be honest, this used to make me feel very sad and left out. Last night, however, as I watched his beautiful bubbles floating in the moonlight and listened to him joyfully hum bars from his favorite cartoon, I was filled with such gratitude. Our lives may be atypical, but they are also filled with so much beauty and joy, if I only remember to slow down and savor this walk through life.