Get lost.

Hi. I’m still here (hope you are, too). I wanted to share a bit about a book I just finished reading called The Wander Society. The author, Keri Smith, on a visit to a bookstore one day, stumbled upon references to a mysterious group going by the name of – you guessed it – The Wander Society, and this book is the result of her research and reflection.

The Wander Society is an actual secret society whose members value the benefits of wandering (unplanned exploration, usually by foot, usually alone, and usually involving an element of nature) as food for the soul.

I love this.

Well, I probably wouldn’t have thought much of it a few years ago, when I was busy working and parenting tiny children and just generally stumbling from one day to the next, obsessing about my to-do lists and trying unsuccessfully to avoid my depressing news feed. Who has the time to wander? And why?

“To wander is to leave behind the complications of living. You can forget the person you are supposed to be for a time, and become who you truly are – unhindered by duties, obligations, and nagging thoughts. To wander is to access your true self.”

~ Keri Smith, The Wander Society

Since I’ve been fortunate enough to gain some solitary free time while my kids are at school, and to develop a real enjoyment of photography and fresh air, I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of random exploration. Some of my favorite photos wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t stumbled upon the scenes or subjects by accident. When I go out with the intention of taking a ‘photo walk,’ I usually park the car somewhere and then ‘get lost’ on foot. Slowing down allows me to open up to really observe the surroundings. Not necessarily having a destination is actually quite liberating, and even good therapy for those of us (*ahem*) with anxiety about all of life’s uncertainties and risks. Wandering allows you to be open and accepting to the unknown. It’s a practice of truly being in the present moment, like meditation. It gives you the time and space to breathe and move and process.

I realize it probably would’ve done me some good in the past to have made time for a good wander now and then, as a method of self-care. These days I still get busy, bothered by my worries, and creatively stuck. Putting one foot in front of the other may not cure all my problems, but it can be a surprisingly mighty antidote.

Check out The Wander Society‘s cryptic website. You might be more confused than intrigued, but I’d still recommend reading Keri Smith’s book. It just might inspire you to lace up your runners.

On that note, this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Favorite Place, and while I have many favorite places, today I’ll choose to share one I discovered yesterday while wandering: this grove of pines, perfectly aligned, row upon row, their slender trunks reaching up to the sky.

Getting lost has its advantages.

Creature comforts.

This morning, the breeze was warm against my face as we walked to school. The birds flapped and fussed, the air carried a sweet, light scent (smelled like joy to me) and I DIDN’T EVEN NEED A JACKET.

In honour of this amazing spring day, I’ll share with you a few of the critters I “captured” during a recent hike. I’m guessing they’re just as excited as I am that spring has arrived.

May 17 (2 of 5)

This fuzzy guy is praying no one eats all the bird seed.

 

May 17 (3 of 5)

This guy couldn’t care less what the squirrel wants.

 

May 17 (5 of 5)

These aren’t technically ‘creatures’ but the masses of cattails were so pretty, I had to include them.

 

May 17 (4 of 5)

Wildlife photos are not my strength. One thing I’ve learned is that you’re supposed to get the bird’s eye in focus. I studied my photo of the chickadee. Did I get the eye in focus? I don’t know. Where’s the eye?! Also, I was so excited about getting an up-close shot of the bird that I inadvertently cut off its tail. Oh, well. You win some, you lose some.

 

May 17 (1 of 5)

“Did YOU eat all the bird seed?”

I hope it’s beautiful wherever you are. Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

Live and learn.

Caution:

To avoid injury, embarrassment, and at least one load of laundry, appropriate footwear* is strongly recommended when squelching through the mud beside a waterfall or attempting to descend a steep and slimy wooden staircase in the forest.

*1. Treads are helpful
2. Don’t wear Posh Wellies
3. Don’t wear any shoe with the word “Posh” in the brand name

February 22 (1 of 1).jpg

Going out.

The sun shone its beautiful glowing face for the second day in a row, plus the milder temperatures didn’t threaten to freeze my nose off.

A dose of fresh air was in order – here are a few photos made during today’s walk.

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Someone lost their… thing… in the water. I wonder what’s in the box?

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I also spent an embarrassing amount of time squatting by the creek, making photos of bits of ice and splashing water. I’ll post those later. For now – off to bed so I can dream of Day Three of sunshine tomorrow. Thanks for visiting!