Most mornings, weather permitting, when I'm working at home I try to get out and talk a walk before I start my day. Otherwise it's tempting to just roll from the bedroom to the office, via the kitchen and bathroom, and before you know it the whole day has passed and you've barely seen the sunshine outside.
I would like to say that I jog but I don't. I would also love to be able to tell you that I 'Power Walk' but that also would be untrue. While I do try to pace quickly enough to get my heart beating faster and I often build up a slight sweat, many days my morning walk more resembles a swift stroll as I enjoy the countryside, mediate and pray, think and try to clear my head ready for the day that faces me.
When you're working predominantly on your own, any human contact is vital, I find, to keep one sane. So the morning walk is also a good opportunity to share a smile or a greeting with others I meet on the way, or a chance to chat to neighbours, to remind myself that life still exists outside my office space.
I tend to see the same people en route. There's the elderly man walking back from the local shop with a fresh newspaper clutched firmly in his hand. There's the fit looking middle aged woman on her daily morning jog, earphones drowning out the world as she listens intently to her music while she pounds the pavement. Invariably she's frowning slightly and looks rather overheated, and I often wonder if she's actually enjoying herself or whether that's just the way her face is.
I pass a tennis club and meet people walking from their cars to the courts, smartly dressed in designer tennis outfits. I often encounter animal lovers taking their dogs for a morning constitutional. And there's the kindly looking gentleman who politely doffs his cap as we share a 'Good Morning' outside his house.
I sometimes see parents/grandparents and their children and in particular one young woman, and two young boys on their silver scooters.
I turn a corner and here comes the first little lad. He's always ahead of the other two. He's on his scooter, zipping along with confidence and a huge smile, his eyes bright with excitement, expertly (or so it seems) missing the little potholes in the pathway, and the occasional tree root. Barely looking down, always looking ahead. Fearless and confident.
Then comes Mum (or it might be the nanny) walking briskly behind, occasionally calling out to the child ahead of her - 'Stop at the corner!'
And finally, taking up the rear in the little convoy, a second small boy. He's also on a scooter, but the contrast could not be more different between him and his brother, for I'm assuming that's what they are - they might even be twins, they look quite similar, although this second child is slightly taller.
He's very careful and tentative, as he slowly paddles along on his scooter, hardly taking his eyes off the path ahead, gripping the handle bars, gritting his teeth, wobbling. No flinging back of his head as he sails up the road with a grin on his face, rather a grim determination to stay upright. Fearful, cautious.
One fearful, one fearless. And it's got me to thinking - which one am I?
Do I face the world with trepidation, always anxious about what's lying ahead, looking intently for the cracks in the road which might trip me up, too afraid and careful to look up and see the road that stretches ahead of me ? Stopping at every tiny obstacle for fear that I might be hurt.
Or am I inclined to occasionally take a risk, pick up a bit of speed, fling my head back and laugh into the morning, to enjoy the sunshine on my face and the smell of freshly mown grass? To put aside, for just a little while, the worries of life? To thank God for just being alive! To just BE, in that moment.
I'm not saying that I have to be one, or the other - I guess most of us are somewhere inbetween. We all have responsibilities and people who depend on us, but I just wonder, are we sometimes so intent on our business of living that, like the frowning jogger, we appear to lose the joy of that life? Just as the fearless little lad needs to stop at the corner to avoid getting run over in the traffic, we can't be entirely carefree, I know that. But could we all just be a little more fearless? Take a few more chances? To enjoy life just a little more?
Of course, I might have it completely wrong. The second little lad may just be learning to ride his scooter and I'll soon see him also whizzing along with his brother, just as confident and fearless.
I hope so.