Tag Archive: walking

Lessons from Landstuhl

Hi everybody!

Sorry I’ve been silent for so long.  The jetlag hit me harder than anticipated, as did the simple tasks of getting back to my life after five weeks away.

While in Germany, I started to keep notes on the things I saw and little lessons I learned along the way.  I hope you find something here that speaks to you!

Many things sound scarier than they actually are.

While walking through the hills, I was often stopped in my tracks by what sounded like a large animal pounding through the woods.  Every time the noise was the loudest, the culprit was a bird.  Mice were the next loudest, followed by squirrels.  Deer – easily the largest animal I saw on my treks – made almost no noise at all.

So maybe the next time something sounds scary, I should take another look.  It might just be a bird tossing about leaves in pursuit of its own purposes.


I came across several paths that were so narrow I had to stop if I wanted to look around.  Well… if I wanted to look around without tumbling down the hillside.

How often do we go through life in constant motion?  Our to-do lists are so long, or we are so focused on where we are trying to get, that we try to take in our surroundings as we pass through them.  Then we try to make decisions and judgments based on pictures that are fuzzy and incomplete.  What if we actually stopped from time to time?  To look at where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we’re going?  To really see as much as we can.  I know that I often feel I will be wasting or losing time if I stop.  But maybe, instead, by being still and taking stock from time to time, I’ll simply create a deeper and richer experience.  Not to mention minimize trips and tumbles.

Grave Gardens.

I saw several graveyards in Germany, and the layouts were all delightfully consistent.   A majority of the plots where actually their own little gardens.  So instead of row after row of dying flowers resting against headstones, you see row after row of new life growing at the base of a memory etched in stone.  Loved ones tend these gardens with dedication, fostering life out of death.

Blowing in the wind.

While in Germany, I realized that I had never truly heard trees creaking in the wind.  I’d read about it, seen it in movies or on TV, but had never experienced it firsthand.

I no longer wonder that our ancestors filled forests with all kinds of creatures and believed that the trees were sentient or the woods haunted.  The sound is beautifully eerie.  At times I was convinced the trees must surely give in, crack, and fall on me.  The sounds – the sighing and creaking and moaning…. spoke to something deep within me.

No fear.

I spend a great deal of time afraid of a great many things.  Most typically, things that will probably never happen to me.  Perhaps I watch too many crime dramas, but I’ve felt that way for a long time.

But in these hills and these woods?  I was not afraid.  I have no explanation, but I wanted to record the fact.

This-a-way or That-a-way.

Sometimes a path that looks like it goes the wrong way actually goes the right way.

We must learn to hear and trust our instincts and intuition.  Otherwise you can end up at the bottom of a very steep path that is hard enough on the downward run and feels near impossible on the upward re-trace.

Down is deceiving.

Pretty much anyone I know would choose to walk downhill over up.  But don’t let your brain fool you.  Downhill can be way more tricky and treacherous than up.  Choose your ‘easies’ carefully.

Klara and me.

Do you remember Heidi?  She was sent from her home in the Swiss hills to Frankfurt to be a companion to a cranky, neurotic little girl named Klara.  Klara sees the worst in everything and is so convinced of her illnesses that she is confined to a wheelchair.  When Heidi pines for her hills, she returns home.  And when Klara pines for Heidi, her doctor sends her along as well.

After spending time in the hills with Heidi, her friend Peter (who Heidi has since taught to read), and the animals, Klara experiences an awakening – on all kinds of levels.  She becomes kinder, gentler, wiser, stronger, healthier, and regains the ability to walk.

As I hiked through the hills that embrace Landstuhl, I realized I felt like the broken girl in Heidi.  And I began to believe that if I could just spend enough time in the hills, out in the sunshine and fresh air, I would find healing.  I would come to know that I was never truly broken; only confounded.

Did it work?  I think it did.  I am having a hell of a time remembering and applying all I learned in Germany, but I know that it’s all in there somewhere.  I may not have access to hills, but I certainly have sunshine and fresh air.  My land has its own charm; I just have to be willing – sometimes to search, and sometimes simply to see.

Today was a good day….

And it’s not even over yet!  Who knows what wonder awaits as the sun sets and we wind down for the day.  I have so much to share from the past couple of weeks.  But here is a taste, just from today:

Today I witnessed the beginnings of life…..

Every day during my 2nd week in Germany, I walked in the hills.  I always ended up at a little pond, where I sat and wrote in my journal.  The pond was full of frogs.  Many of them appeared to be wrestling.

Last week was so full that I didn’t get my walk in, but I was back at it today.  I got to my pond and walked around the shoreline, but saw no frogs at all.

What I did see were hundreds of eggs, each containing the beginnings of a tadpole.  And other new life, sprouting on the banks.  So cool.

Today a complete stranger told me that I must be a good person because her dog came right up and greeted me….. 

For some reason, this delighted me.  I am talking about a grin that started at my toes and worked it’s way up and out the top of my head.

Today I skipped through the leaves along a path in the hills…..

Do you remember skipping?  I had forgotten how much fun it can be.  In an instant my heart lightened, my lips curved up into a smile, and laughter bubbled up from deep within.  I think I need to skip more often.

What did you do today?

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