More healing walks


View of Silver Lake, the island in the middle of the lake on the right.

I get the sense that many think I’m a high-level walker, leaping tall bushes at a single bound. Well, the truth is that I clump along as best I can, and in fact, I need to take easy walks, since I’m simply not up to more physically demanding trails. I was a strong hiker at one time, but that was long ago. Since that turning point in my life nearly twenty-five years past, I’ve lived with total paralysis of my right leg that thankfully  transformed into partial paralysis, and even that not always evident to casual observers. I love to take easy walks, but they are the only kind of walks I can manage, with support.

The most important support I have is willing walking partners. My husband and I walk almost every weekend, if we’re not on our tandem bike. During the week, I schedule exploratory or simple revisits to favorite outdoor places with friends, family, and other interested folk who are able to arrange their schedule to my own.

My walking rhythm stopped abruptly in March after sustaining a bad fall that injured my back. Six weeks later, I was just getting back to short walks when some kind of bug bit my toe. Soon all the toes in my right foot swelled alarmingly. Rest, elevating my foot, and lots of helpful drugs to calm the allergic reaction have allowed me, ten days later, to start getting back to gentle walks.


My neighbor’s flowers brighten the walk, the lake is on the left

As when I was first relearning to walk, Silver Lake in Bellingham is my go-to spot to heal. Our house overlooks the lake, so it’s a short walk to the water, a very easy walk for me. As I recover from these latest physical challenges, once again Silver Lake is  where I find healing.

I’ve been keeping my eye on a nesting swan, and I hoped to get a glimpse of her cygnets, which surely have hatched by now.


Swan plucking feathers from her breast to feather the nest

Alas, when I got to the end of the road that follows the shore of the lake, the swan was “feathering her nest,” making things more comfortable (or perhaps simply finding something to do as she sits, and sits, and sits!).


After plucking feathers from one side, the mother swan carefully tucks the feathers into the other side of her nest.

No little ones in sight. Perhaps at dusk or dawn I’d have a better chance to spot little swans paddling behind their mother, but not this day.


Windblown birch tree on the shore of Silver Lake.

Instead of seeing cute bird babies, I was content to watch trees blown about by the gusty winds of this spring day.


Oak trees finally greening up as they eventually do each spring.

Flowers are in bloom, bees are drinking their fill on the blossoms, and even the oak trees are beginning to shift to green from the bare branches that have stood so starkly all winter.

I love to explore, to find new places to walk, but as many before me have said, there’s no place like home. And lucky for me, home offers an ever-changing landscape, with the promise of surprise each time I venture to the shores of the lake.

Here’s hoping you have a “go-to” spot for healing. I’m always glad to hear about those places too.

Marjorie Turner Hollman

Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionEasy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down.

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Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks, Meditations/Liturgies

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