The Joys of a Walk in the Park
I was recently lucky enough to live close to Regents Park in London, and it's a short walk from my apartment. The park spans 166-hectares and also is home to the ZSL London Zoo; it’s huge. I love London because of the parks, particularly how big they are despite being in the city or right on the city fringe.
I have recently been going for longer strolls around a loop in Regents Park. I try to do these strolls earlier in the morning when it’s less busy and more enjoyable. Longer walks are also a great way to spend time thinking more deeply about important things on your mind or are a great way to spend time connecting with someone to discuss important decisions. There is something about being outside in nice scenery that is calming and good for the soul, not to mention getting physical exercise will always be a good thing.
I know I always feel better after going for a long walk. Being outdoors is said to improve your health in many ways, including lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, improving mood, improving focus and help us heal quicker.
It is also enjoyable to watch all the trees, dogs, birds, squirrels, and people go by as you walk your way through the park whilst taking in all the scents and sounds.
I never really paid much attention to trees when I was younger, but I find that I appreciate them more and more in my older age (I’m not that old). They provide us with much-needed oxygen and shade and are homes to many animals; they can also be charming to look at, particularly when the sun peaks through the leaves at just the right angle. Some of the trees have been there longer than a lifetime; they have most likely been witness to some very interesting happenings and people. They would have seen the city and its people change over time; it's like the old saying goes if only these trees (walls)could talk.
I like watching dogs enjoy themselves in the park, playing in the grass, sniffing everything possible, and interacting with other dogs. It must be such an exciting endeavour for them. There are so many different breeds of dogs, some small, some big, some scruffy looking and some finely groomed like they are about to be shown. Some pooches often like to say hello to you during their walk; most owners are happy to accommodate. Most dogs seem to really enjoy meeting and introducing themselves to one another; it’s really nice, apart from the odd bark and threat of a mild scuffle. I always wonder if dogs know when they are engaging with another dog of their own breed or not or genuinely don’t care and are just happy to meet someone new only for a fleeting moment. Whether it’s playing fetch, digging or finding the biggest stick they can find, dogs genuinely seem to find happiness in the simple pleasures. We are fortunate to have dogs as companions; they aren’t called a mans best friend for no reason.
Speaking of simple pleasures, people-watching is one of my simple pleasures, which I thoroughly enjoy. The park is a great place to find a nice seat and watch the world go by, particularly all the different people strolling past. It’s interesting to think about how each of the people walking past lives their own lives; this may be the only moment that you will cross paths. I always think the same thing when a bus full of people goes on by; Where are they going? Where did they come from? What is their life like? I believe the word for this feeling is called sonder. The definition is “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own”. It’s truly mind-boggling there are 7.6 billion people all living their own lives.
When the park has too many people, it can be unpleasant to navigate your way through, having to dodge other people’s elbows constantly. However, I must admit since the UK’s lockdowns have eased, I have enjoyed seeing people being out and about spending time with friends and family and living their lives.
Perhaps as the pandemic retreats and people get vaccinated, we should aim to spend more time outside this year. No doubt most of us have probably had enough of spending time indoors.
Until next time.