This past weekend me and my friend Eden went to Belle Isle. I have been to Belle Isle before but never when I had nothing else planned for the whole day and certainly never with someone who loves to explore just as much as I do. We had the whole day to bask in the sun and climb all over old ruins like little monkeys. I have always loved exploring. From abandoned houses to new cities, being surrounded with unfamiliar makes me feel new. Fresh. Excited. Within our city city, there is a place for every mood. I have enjoyed so much exploring all of these places and experiencing all of the emotions each of them project. Belle Isle is something special within Richmond, though. There are so many winding paths, enclosed with trees and brush. There are rocks to bask on for hours in the soft sunlight. There are even beautiful, mysterious ruins to climb upon. As Eden and I explored, hours passed. We climbed around talking and listening to music. It was so nice to move away from the city and and let my mind slow down, adjusting from a fast paced, very stressful past week.
It was so satisfying to be surrounded with other people who appreciate the outdoors as much as I do. It brought me so much joy to be amongst nature and close to water. It made me miss home. In Lovettsville, where I grew up, I lived about five minutes from the Potomac River and about twenty minutes from Harpers Ferry. Over the summer, we went tubing nearly every week, spending whole days outside sitting on rocks and calmly floating down the river. In the fall, we often hike up Maryland Heights and sit for hours at the top of the overlook and watch life go by. In those moments, life is far enough away that I can comfortably analyze it. I have space to be mindful of the moment I am in and appreciate the people who surround me in that moment. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen every day.
Little things, such as the feeling of fresh, warm sunlight on my skin as I walk into shade make me feel so happy. The energy I feel as I put my palms on cool rock and plant my feet on solid ground is something that sustains me. I am recharged in these moments- I leave with the power I need to make it through another week. Life is hard. School is stressful. Things that make my heart feel love and my mind feel strength are things I have to continuously commit myself to doing, even when I am too tired. If we don’t do these things, we fall into a predictable and emotionless routine. I suppose I can only speak for myself, but when I don’t feed my creative, emotional side, I start to become very stagnant in my schedule and in my mind.
As this week begins, even with all of the stress that has already piled up on my schedule (enough to give me a neck cramp), I am more present throughout my day. I am ready to take on the things I have to to have a successful week. I’m thankful for Eden’s friendship. Since meeting her, she has brightened my life tremendously. Sharing my day with her Saturday was such a blessing.