Story Walking begins when we step outside into green space. The magic of story walking can happen in a park, a community garden or a cemetery. It can happen on a tree-lined city street, a woodland trail or a bike path. This is where we connect with Nature, and the secret to entering into the this magical connection it to slow down, look around and be totally present.
Wednesday morning, as my husband and I were walking along a busy bike path, a snapping turtle crawled up over the embankment and proceeded to cross in front of us. The ancient looking creature moved slowly, steadily and deliberately. It walked step by step, moving one foot forward at a time. Bikers and walkers stopped to watch in fascination until it reached to other side. We were all enchanted.
The snapping turtle family, Chelydridae, evolved in North America and has inhabited our wetlands for nearly 90 million years, whereas humans have been walking the Earth for a mere 200,000 years. With its deeply wrinkled skin and hard weathered shell, Chelydra sepentinaspeaks an ancient wisdom and reminds us to slow down. The turtle’s scientific name, Chelydra sepentina, sounds much more magical than its common name – Common Snapping Turtle. Scientific names do this.
“Nature never hurries, yet everything is accomplished.” These wise words are attributed to Lau Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher and founder of Taoism. By slowing down, one can actually accomplish more – minimizing stress, making fewer mistakes, thinking more clearly and acting with deeper insight and greater purpose.
Ten years ago, I worked in insurance sales, hustling from one door to the next, living a hurried life. I started noticing that the faster I went, the less I accomplished. Frustrated and unsatisfied, I worked even harder and faster, until I felt like a hamster running on a wheel and going nowhere, except round and round. I wished I could get off the wheel, but was not sure how to do it, until, one day, WHAM! My wish was granted. Hurrying through my life, I blindly tripped over an unseen obstacle, flew off the wheel and landed on my butt with a broken toe. That’s when I stopped running and started walking, outdoors with Nature.
The following year, I co-produced my first collection of Story Walking stories for children on an audio CD. I titled the collection Fiddlesticks: Nature and Nonsense. The three main stories are about slowing down the pace, seeking out nature and being more present and more mindful.
Today, I develop and teach environmental curriculum for The Empowerment Factory, I write environmental news articles for Natural Awakenings magazine and host a monthly radio show, the Story Walking Radio Hour. I love my work and go at my own pace. My children’s audios and radio hour podcasts are freely available for download off my website Programs page and my Dreamvisions7Radio archive page. My mission is to inspire more people to get outdoors, slow down, connect with the magical power of Nature and create their own amazing stories.