A Change of Scenery

Last Monday night, my husband shared his new favorite walking destination with me.
Last Monday night, my husband shared his new favorite walking destination with me. I didn’t even know about this reservoir hidden from street view less than a mile from our house.

My dad always encouraged me to try something new, including finding new routes home. “Change for the sake of change is good,” he inspired. He was a firm believer that aging began when we, as individuals, became comfortable- comfortable in our routines, our jobs, our relationships, and our lives. Change, through new experiences and new adventures, makes us feel alive was his regular message and one he lived with passion.

At various times in my life, I have allowed myself to become too comfortable. I’ve “phoned it in” at certain jobs, while homeschooling, in my marriage, and in my daily routine. Then, I wonder why I feel itchy under my skin. It rarely takes me long to figure out I’ve fallen into the same old dull routine but figuring out what to do differently can feel daunting.

“Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights.” ~Pauline R. Kezer

When my dad was still alive, he always opened our calls with, “Hey! What’s new and exciting?” I often felt silly and embarrassed during those chats. More often than not, I had no big trips I was planning nor new job I was starting; there was no new grand adventure of any kind. I had dirty diapers and lesson planning and my regular clients and a “stable” marriage. Nothing new. Nothing exciting. That (perceived–by me) lack often made those calls home tough and awkward. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t and didn’t realize until after his death that he wasn’t asking about trips or jobs or grand adventures. Sure, he loved sharing the big news, but he was asking about what was new in my day–how was I changing and growing. What was I doing different today than yesterday? Did I start reading a new book? Pick up a new craft with the girls? Plant a new seed? Share a date with my husband someplace new? Or, simply take a new route home from the store?

“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.” ~Author Unknown

For some time, I’ve been thinking about “getting in shape”, not so I can wear the size I wore once, after months of starvation, but to feel better in my own skin and have more energy. In my youth, I loved running. At 50, my knees don’t. Of course, there is walking and while I love being in nature, I thought I had explored most of the “convenient” pretty paths near my home. Those paths had become boring and routine and left me with little desire to leave my comfortable chair.

Then, one recent Monday, after tuning up my bike for our older daughter to use, my husband invited me to ride alongside him while he took our Guide Dog puppy-in-training for a walk to his new favorite walking destination. It was the first time I had been on a bike in about 7 years. (That’s a subject for another post.) Suddenly, my day had something new and exciting in it, and that evening ride transformed my week. 5 times that week, I mounted up and rode. Most days I rode alone, but one morning I joined two girlfriends for a ride and we rewarded our efforts with a Starbucks and laughter. I rode north and south and east and west, and I discovered I am surrounded by nature and paths just waiting to be explored. All new. All exciting. A most welcomed change in my world.

“Change always comes bearing gifts.” ~Price Pritchett

Below are some of the sights I discovered along the way, but before I go, I ask you, “What’s new and exciting?” Please share! (I’m always looking for ideas. 🙂 )

The beauty of a new day is always exciting.
The beauty of a new day is always exciting.
So many new paths to explore.

 

Even my "usual" walking path around the corner from our house took on a fresh feel.
Even my “usual” walking path around the corner from our house took on a fresh feel.
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Who knew a bike could and would open up my world again?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my favorites.
One of my new favorite spots.
I love, love, love being able to see the Rockies from my home and this path.

 

“Each morning is the open door to a new world–new vistas, new aims, new tryings.”
~Leigh Mitchell Hodges

 

Hidden within these reeds was an early morning fisherman.
Hidden within these reeds was an early morning fisherman, perhaps trying something new and exciting.
This wild rose is in the area my husband brought me to on Monday evening. At the time, there weren't even the smallest of buds visible. Less than a week later, it had bloomed. I think that's both new and exciting. :)
This wild rose is in the area my husband shared with me.  At that time, there weren’t even the smallest of buds visible. Less than a week later, it had bloomed, which was both new and exciting. 🙂
They’re not welcome  in my yard, but I love thistle flowers and seeing this one before it bursts into full color was spectacular!
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30 thoughts on “A Change of Scenery”

  1. thank you for the inspiration – change does often come bearing gifts… thank you for the photos from your travels. I, too, have fifty year old knees and they need to get moving…

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  2. Oh, I love bike riding too. My husband is a serious rider (usually about 200 miles a week), but I have a sweet little number I named Flo (as in Go with the Flow), that was my 50th birthday gift to myself. We also have a tandem…highly recommended. And…this weekend I tried kayaking (the post I have up now is about that)…all of those sitting sports, they’re my kind of activity!

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  3. I love this, Mary! And, I love that are riding your bike! I recently got a bike, myself, and hadn’t been on one since I was a TEENAGER. My daughter is so into bike riding right now, that I feel blessed to be able to do it with her. And, because I don’t have the money or ability to travel I am always looking for a change of scenery, to see things I haven’t seen right in my own backyard and feel a sense of freedom from the drudgery of daily life, even take a risk here and there. Horse riding is the biggest thing that has done this for me, but the bike….it’s now second in line! Here’s the blog post I wrote about it if you wanna check it out! 🙂 XOXO-Kasey http://singleworkingmomswm.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/riding-a-bike-and-embarrassing-my-kid/

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  4. What a beautiful post — both the words and the photos. I’ve always loved the quote about the butterflies and try to remind myself of it whenever there’s some difficult change in my life. Your dad’s words are very wise — I want to hear about the little details of my kids’ lives every day, and what brought a smile (or frown) to their face. The big, exciting adventures are just the icing on the cake.

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    1. Thank you, Lois! About the time C was born, I began to shift my perspective about the difficult changes and see them as the blessings from which most of my growth sprouted. However, in the last decade or so, I’ve turned my focus about change to one that is more proactive and begun asking myself “What do I need to change? How can I change to be a better me?”

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  5. Wonderful quotes from your dad. Beautiful images. And great inspiration. I will start exercising outside… (ahem) in the evenings, dusk or later… after the Tucson temps fall below 100.

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  6. I usually ask my boys what was the “best thing” about their day. When they tell me it was a “regular” day, I make them think, and dig up one detail that was better than the rest. Lesson: that no matter how bad your day was, there’s perspective to be found. Occasionally I ask them about the worst thing, because I want them to know that days aren’t always good. What I really love is when they ask me about my day. I usually answer that the best thing was being asked about my day. 🙂

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    1. Love that, Lisha! We used to share “highs and lows” every night at the table; lows to get them out, and highs to change the focus and perspective. I think it’s time to revisit that tradition.

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  7. I love this perspective you got from your dad’s memory: “…what was new in my day–how was I changing and growing. What was I doing different today than yesterday?” I think we should ask ourselves this question and then think about how we can grow. We can see the world through new eyes in a whole lot of ways! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to ask myself what I am doing today to stretch and grow — early enough in the day that I have time make something happen :)! Looking forward to seeing more of the world through your eyes!

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  8. Your post really resonated with me. One of my daughters lives across the country. She calls every day and tells me what is going on in her life, and then asks me what’s new. It’s embarrassing that I can’t come up with anything, day after day. Being a writer at home is a fairly boring (but desired by me) existence. I definitely get myself in a rut and need to branch out more.

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    1. Helene, I understand completely. For the past 20 years, I’ve “worked” from home while running a research business and homeschooling. It’s easy to do the same thing day in and out, especially when there is a routine that needs to be maintained. Branching out requires risk, and without risk, there are no rewards.

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  9. Oh, my, you live in a gorgeous place! How great that you get exercise and can see these sights. I would absolutely love that. Nature is everything. Lovely, lovely post. My life is becoming mundane so I need to shake it up!

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    1. Cathy, from the outside, your life is anything BUT mundane! You have so many things shaking! However, we can all get tired of doing the “same thing.” A visit to my neighborhood might be the perfect shake up. I’d be happy to show you my wonderful nature rides. 🙂

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