One of the earliest childhood memories I actually can remember is my grandfather going for walks in the local park to feed the birds.
Come rain or shine, nothing would stop him — he made it mandatory to go every day. Occasionally he would take us grandkids along with him, along with his bag of bird seeds and torn bread pieces.
He would reach the park and then scatter the food at the trunk of large trees and then save a little at the end, for when he would sit on a bench and then feed the pigeons around the bench.
In the winter, he would make and take a warm paronta along with him, wipe away the snow and then leave the food.
At the house, he had his very own stash of birdseed, kept in the kitchen attic in the corner, along with a scoop for easy access for bagging the seeds.
This is one of my fondest memories of him.
I can also vaguely recall stories of my dad joking at this and asking him ‘why do you that old man?’ , ‘why do you insist on feeding the birds…’ and his response being ‘who else is going to feed them…’
They would all chuckle and shrug it off. I guess thinking he was being stubborn in his ways.
The elder generation were built differently.
Fast forward to today.
It’s now my dad who’s the one that goes for regular walks in the local park (albeit a different park).
He doesn’t feed the birds, as that is now illegal due to health & hygiene reasons, but he does make a point of going almost daily.
Since Covid-19 and everything else that has come into play during 2020, I’ve found myself dealing with increased anxiety and I try to pro-actively work to tackle it, along with the usual life pressures of being a working father / husband. My usual go-to ways of releasing pressures are via running, meditation and gardening.
Around lockdown 2, I randomly tried walking early in the park one morning in the local park.
Since then I kept it going and I’m not too sure why?
I know it’s a good source of exercise, getting the body moving especially since my work is bound to a desk & laptop for most of the day.
But for me, I began to notice I enjoyed breathing in that fresh morning air. Seeing the sun rays breaking through the tree branches in the summer. The wind on my face. The smell of freshly cut grass. The flowers blooming in the spring. The squirrels running up the trees. The other early morning risers and dog walkers doing their rounds.
It is also a way for me to think (and not think) about my stresses, overcome them or simply get into a better mood for the day.
Find some zen.
It was here that I randomly thought of my grandad; that almost 3 generations of my family have sought solace by going for a walk in the park.
And that my grandad, even if being laughed at, continuously continued to do so but also looking at it from another perspective, what he was doing was seva; selflessly feeding others even if it was birds, whilst finding his own peace and zen.
That’s good karma.
Whichever way you look at it, who doesn’t feel better after a nice walk in the park?
Nonetheless, do what you got to do to feel good and release the pressures in this day and age.
Find your zen.
Then hopefully life will be that little bit easier.
A walk in the park.