On a crisp April afternoon, I decided to take my dog Homer for a walk in our neighborhood park across the street. The park has a large lake, framed with hundred year old trees and a walking path that is .42 miles long. From my front door, one lap around the lake and back to my front door, I figure it’s about a 1/2 mile.
So on this particular day, Homer and I were enjoying our walk when out of the corner of my eye I saw a bird flying across the lake. It wasn’t one of the regular residents of the lake (a Canadian goose or Mallard duck), and as I got a closer look, I saw that it was a beautiful Great Blue Heron. I’ve seen Blue Herons at the lake before so it didn’t surprise me to see him there, and as I focused on this amazing bird flying, I saw that he had a large fish in his beak. I smiled, thinking to myself, “The lucky, skillful fisherman is going to have a really good supper tonight.”
Homer and I took a few more steps and came upon a father and his son. Next thing I knew the boy took off in a fast sprint, following the path around the lake to get a better view of the majestic bird having its dinner. As his father passed us, I asked, “Did you see the bird catch the fish?” The father replied, “Yes, my son is fascinated with the bird and has been watching it ever since we got here.”
Homer and I continued on our walk, and I kept an eye on the boy and the bird. I watched the boy point at the bird, jumping in excitement as his father caught up to him. I watched the bird maneuver the fish so that he could digest his dinner. And as I watched these moments unfold, I had a wonderful feeling come over me.
I loved how excited the boy was about seeing this bird. I could feel his thrill and joy, even though I was watching from afar and could not hear him. In that moment, it dawned on me that through this child’s eyes, amazing things were happening. I was inspired by the boy’s sense of urgency to find a position where he could see the bird more closely. He had moved with alacrity and purpose as the bird flew across the lake to enjoy his feast.
I had to chuckle at myself because no more than 15 minutes before I witnessed this amazing scene unfolding, I was having a conversation in my head about how tired I was. And how I really didn’t want to go exercise today. But had I not gone for that walk, I would have missed these wonderful moments, missed seeing how the boy’s excitement had propelled him to have this wonderful adventure. I realized then that I could bring the same excitement and sense of discovery to exercising, approaching it as this boy approached this bird – with alacrity and purpose. Looking at it as though I was a child, I saw how much more fun was possible.
With that thought, I smiled at myself and gave Homer a tug on his leash as I steered him back to the house.