wordless walk

Moonlit wordlessness

I used to be afraid of the dark.  Once my brother went off to college and it was my job to bring the garbage cans up the driveway to the street, I would drag them up at top speed, then turn and sprint back to the safety the inside of the house. What was I afraid of?  Goblins?  Witches?  Some kind of supernatural evil?  Who knows, but I'll never forget the one time it was pitch black and raining and I was running so fast with those trash cans that I almost ran straight into Mr. Heath and his little dog, out for a walk in their matching slickers.  I think we both scared each other a little, but he certainly was no warlock.

Somewhere along the way, I lost my fear of the dark.  I spent more time walking around in the woods at night and found out that nothing really changed except it was quiet and you couldn't see as much, and sometimes the sounds were different.

And some time after that, I grew to really enjoy walking in the woods in the dark, especially when the moon is out.  There's something so amazing about seeing your shadow created by pure moonlight.

If you haven't yet tried a nighttime wordless walk, this weekend is a great opportunity.  The moon will be close to full.  Go to a place where you feel safe.  Bring friends. Find a picturesque location to watch the sun set and the moon rise, preferably away from artificial lights.  Still your mind and just breathe and listen and be.  Stay long enough for it to get really dark so you can see your shadow by the moonlight. Marvel.

And if you're in the New Orleans area, you can join me this Sunday at 6 p.m. at Jean Lafitte for a sunset/moonrise wordless walk.  We'll meet at the Bayou Coquille parking area, and you can email me at carla@livingwildandprecious.com if you have any questions.  No matter where you are, if you haven't tried nighttime wordlessness, give it a try and tell me what happens!


We've had a lot of rain in the past couple of days.  The swamp has more water in it than I've ever seen.  And it's absolutely magical. Reflections like this everywhere.  Critters galore. I have stories - so many! - I'll share them soon. This watery magic won't last, so if you're in the NOLA area, come walk with me tomorrow for a first-hand experience.    We'll meet at the Pecan Grove parking area at Jean Lafitte National Park at 9 a.m., Saturday, March 24.  And we'll walk wordlessly so all of our senses can soak in the present moment.  Some call this "forest bathing" and I love that term-- with all this water it's going to almost feel like bathing! Don't worry, I've found a trail that's 99% high and dry.

Email me at carla@livingwildandprecious.com if you need more directions or want to find out more.  And if you're somewhere far away from NOLA, consider taking your own wordless walk this weekend and sending me photos or stories about what happened.  I can't wait to hear what you experience!  Won't it be cool if we all take some time to still our minds and bask in the beauty of the present?

How to take a wordless walk

You can do this anywhere.  While you might imagine a wordless walk happening in a peaceful forest or deserted beach, it's just as possible to enjoy wordlessness in a busy airport or city streetscape. Here's what I do. 1. Breathe.  No, really.  Feel your breath actually expanding your lungs instead of that shallow stuff you're doing most of the time because you're so busy thinking.  (I have to remind myself of this, that's why I'm reminding you too!) 2. Soften your gaze.  Find an object (a tree, a building, a Cinnabon store) in the middle of your visual field.  Look at it, then while still looking at it, widen your peripheral vision as far as you can to include everything around it.  Bring the object you're looking at to the foreground, then make it the background, just by shifting your focus. 3. Listen.  Listen to all the sounds around you.  Birdsong, car horns, the wind, airport announcers - take it all in.  Now try to hear the space between the sounds. 4. Walk slowly with your gaze soft and your ears open.  You can also use your sense of smell - flowers? ocean? cinnamon rolls? - to bring yourself to the present. 5. Walk for as long as you like, using your softened yet heightened senses to keep you in the present moment.  Keep breathing. If you find yourself drifting into thoughts of the past or future, you can help snap yourself back to the now simply by asking yourself to look around - really look.  Really listen.  Just be - without any need to be doing anything else.  And let me know how it goes!  I'd love to hear about your experiments with wordless walking!