Sunday, September 12, 2010

Urban Hike

A misperception I've operated under for a while now is that it's hard to have a small child and get enough exercise. Before baby, I was very active. With my turtle (Kapha) metabolism, I can sloooow to a stop if I don't start my day with vigor and fresh air. (Interestingly, I looked up Kapha after I described my characteristics. It was spot-on!)
As I feel the cobwebs blowing clear from my mind lately, I am choosing to say to myself, "It is possible for me to get enough exercise every day." Regardless of whether Papi Sealion works or not, there are rarely days in which I don't have enough time to dedicate at least a half-hour to activity. My life is luxurious that way.
On a jog recently I muddled over ways to get more exercise, knowing that walking up Berkeley's hills is the most straight-forward thing to do. It then dawned on me that even when hiking was a regular part of my life, the first half-hour always sucked. I always wanted to quit. And after that, it felt great. In my daily life, with babe on back, I haven't been getting past that first suck-period. It just feels like hard work. I've jogged for such a long time, I know to push past this first mental hump. So I can do it on walks with Anjali, as well.
Today I applied this by going on what I called an "urban hike" ~ walking up into the hills of Berkeley with my daughter strapped to my back. After stopping for espresso at Guerilla (a girl deserves a kickstart!), I took the first right turn uphill. And climbed climbed climbed climbed. Berkeley has scenic walking paths that are actually labeled with street signs: tree-lined sidewalks that just go straight up, with very steep steps thrown in here and there.
I hiked with purpose up up up. And when Anjali started to squirm and complain, it was my signal to head back (going down, of course, takes so much less time).
Once I got past the first flight of steep steps, my mind no longer focused on the effort and instead expanded to include the sensations of the world around me. When I wasn't busy being enchanted by my immediate surroundings ~ rose gardens, Mediterranean-style houses with charming arch-doored nooks, and magically quiet redwood groves, I remembered to turn around occasionally to take in equally memorable views of the Bay and the city in the distance.

steps that are steep on the way up are also very steep on the way down!
I love roses!
hadn't visited the Berkeley Rose Garden since we first moved to CA, five years ago.
unphotoshopped brilliance.
both tree and vine had grown through and around the metal fence. i love it when that happens.
sweetly tiny, intensely vibrant.
What started as simply an effort for exercise left my legs pleasantly tired and my mind and eyes exuberantly open. A successful new beginning!

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