Simple Gifts

Blue Dasher4

Ken and I took our first walk around Etowah Park one Saturday afternoon in May, 2017.

We were impressed.  The city fathers had created a gorgeous park with loblolly pines, black walnut and poplar trees. A long curvy bridge crossed the river’s gently swirling currents.  

We saw hiking trails, pet stations, pups of all sizes, playgrounds, soccer fields, frisbees, kites, drones….benches, swings.

The first day Ken and I walked a little over a mile, but  the sun was hot, and I had forgotten my cap, so I made a note to wear it when we returned Monday morning.

Monday I took my cap, bottled water, keys and my phone to record my steps. We pushed the limit and walked further than a mile–but rested midway on a squeaking swing.

Hungry, on Tuesday I took a banana along with my cap,  bottled water, keys and the phone.

But since we had became troubled Tuesday night by a reporter who told of a mom molested in a park in Atlanta, Wednesday morning Ken strapped a small black case with a pocket knife to his belt along with a new little can of mace.  

So, along with the knife, and mace, we had caps, bottled water, keys, phones and bananas.

We walked all the way around the park–21/2 miles. Along the way we talked about how we needed a little red wagon. It would be so fun to bring sandwiches and drinks for brunch.

But because the sky looked angry, Thursday morning, we added an umbrella and vinyl jackets instead. It was when another jogger chuckled at my umbrella, I knew we had gotten ridiculous.

“Let’s hurry and get this done,” I told Ken Friday morning. Busy day.” 

Setting a licksplixity pace, in our haste we missed the trees, the river, the bridge, the fields, the flowers, the frog’s croak, the woodpecker’s knock, the park swings, the pups–our loves and delights.

Josepho Bracket penned one secret to happy living in his 18th century Quaker Dance Song, Simple Gifts. Then Aaron Copland set the poem to music in the mid 1900’s.

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

 Where we ought to be, Jospeh tells us, is in a valley of love and delight. Music for the soul.

The Psalmist agrees in Psalm 23: 1-4 NIV.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”

Ken and I feel safe and healthy walking around Etowah Park. It takes us 45 minutes to walk about 3 miles. We throw sticks in the river, click photos of flowers, and sit in the squeaky swing.  Then, when all you can hear is the click of our shoes, I secretly take delight in the Lord, and He gives me the desire of my heart–His love and peace.

What is your favorite exercise routine?





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