The other day I was in the middle of my daily “constitutional” – a brief, 15 minute walk outside at lunchtime – when I realized the soundscape of the walk had changed entirely from just a few days before. Each step was not the crunch-squeak of packed snow of February, not even the watery, slushy swish of just a few days earlier, but instead the hard click of boots on clear pavement. The first birds of spring were chirping and tweeting all around, sounds I hadn’t heard in months. Snowmelt was trickling down eavestroughs and into and through the storm drains below my feet. In the space of a day, two at most, the sounds of my walk had shifted entirely from winter to spring.
This week has also been one of fog in Ottawa. I love fog, how it changes the landscape and muffles sounds. I never can capture the effect with the camera on my phone, and this surprising elusiveness makes it all the more beautiful. Yesterday the fog hung heavily around me for the first few minutes of my walk, until suddenly the wind shifted, the air warmed and the fog disappeared almost entirely. It was startling in its absence.
I normally spend the entire walk earbuds-in, immersed in podcasts. The fog reminded me to take a moment to include a little silence in my day. Of course, as I then discovered, what I had thought of as “silence” was anything but. Unplugging gave me a chance to listen to the first sounds of spring.
I have discovered this to be one of my Life’s Truths: I am calmer, less stressed and even happier if I spend just 15 minutes a day outside, regardless of the weather.