Change It Up By Going Outside

Get Out of The Gym And Into Nature

After a while workouts in a gym get a little stale. There are only so many lunges, pull-ups and elliptical sessions you can do before you’re bored. One day recently, people were hogging a lot of the free weights and medicine balls so when my friend Jody arrived for our morning workout at the not-so-great gym I wrote about last week, I suggested an outdoor run. Jody wisely pointed out that the gym is basically bordered by highways so a run might be difficult. But we decided to see what we could find. We ran by a lot of businesses, a CVS, a few banks and some restaurants. Not so beautiful.

But then we found a park nearby with a small lake.  Incredibly, in the middle of the urban sprawl, there was actual wildlife! I was so thrilled that I had to stop and take a picture of each new creature we came upon.

This is a picture of a swan taking flight.

I love how majestic this egret looks taking off.

There were egrets and an otter and birds I don’t know the name of—and a kitten. Until you come across those beautiful creatures, you forget how incredible it is to be in their presence. I’m so used to be cooped up in my temperature-controlled house, gym or office, glued to the TV, computer or smartphone, that just being outside was like a big adventure. I think endorphins must be increased when you workout outside as opposed to the gym—as long as you get away from the highway.

This is a photo of an otter eating.

This guy swam across the lake to find his breakfast. I think it’s an otter.

Because between the animals and the sunrise, the fresh air and the feel of uneven ground under my feet, I felt uplifted and inspired the rest of the day.

This is a photo of a black kitten.

This friendly kitten stopped for a visit.

Even the kitten who appeared in the middle of the jogging path around the lake made me happy. And then there was the pièce de résistance—the sunrise.

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Getting outside proved to be just what I needed. It just goes to show you that even in the middle of the city you can find beauty in the outdoors.

 

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Sunday Morning Thunderstorms: A Love Story

Sunday morning. 6:30 a.m. One of my very favorite things in the world is happening right now.

A few minutes ago, as I lay in bed halfway between asleep and awake, groggily deciding whether I should get up, make a cup of coffee and read the New York Times, or just go back to sleep for a little while, a flash of light made my decision for me.

I waited, holding my breath, hoping it wasn’t some electronic device in our bedroom that had flashed. Then, a few seconds later: joy. Boom! Plink, plink, plink.

I leapt out of bed and slipped outside to sit on the back porch.

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Yucca flowers enjoying the moisture.

There are few things in this world I love more than being awakened by an early Sunday morning thunderstorm. I love almost everything about thunderstorms. The first, hesitant drops of rain plinking on our skylights. The whooshing water running out of the gutters. The overlapping, repeating circles erupting on the patio puddles and on the surface of the pool. The soft roars of thunder in the distance as the storm drifts away. The way the flowers become bright exclamation points in the soggy gray light. I love how nature becomes so geometric and creative and beautiful and active.

When I was little, we had a screened-in porch. During thunderstorms, we always gathered on the porch to watch the sky erupt. Mom made popcorn and lemonade. I sat on her lap. We counted between lightning and thunder. Often, we were quiet, listening to the peacefulness of the rain and the tumbling of the sky.

In Texas, we always need the rain. Anytime it rains, I’m grateful. But when that rain comes with a gentle thunderstorm, it’s a treat. Thank you for the rain and this morning’s show. And thank you for not bringing any tornadoes with it.

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Lucy does not share my love of thunderstorms. The morning bathroom run was soggy and quick. No time to bark.