October 25, 2011

All In a Day's Lunch Break

For as long as I can remember, I have been using my lunch breaks at work to engage in physical fitness activities. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I go to the University's Sports Complex to use the varsity weight room. What I will do on Tuesdays and Thursdays differs depending on what the weather is looking like outside. On cold or rainy days, I like to go to the mall to walk the long corridors. On warm, clear days, I prefer to get my cardiovascular exercise at a place called Avalon Park.

Avalon Park is a nature preserve made up of 140 acres of wooded paths, wildflower meadows, mossy pools, and lakeside boardwalks. Many bridges and benches dot the trails offering well-placed spots to rest and take in the natural beauty that is all around. The grounds look extraordinary during this season of year when all of the leaves are beginning to turn brown and the bushes are heavy with berries. I have visited this park many times. It is a great setting for my lunchtime walk.

Set in the middle of the park is a feature called the Labyrinth, a circle of stones that makes a single, non-branching path. The ancient symbol of the labyrinth has traditionally been used for meditation and prayer. It represents the spiritual journey within to one's personal center and then back out to the world. To walk the path is all about healing, discovery, creativity, intuition, and transformation.

Usually when I hike through the park, I have my iPod set on some form of world music (Hindustani ragas, Celtic folk songs, Peruvian classical music, Native American pipes, etc.). Such sounds are a great accompaniment to the wooded surroundings at Avalon. Though, lately I have been mostly switching between two classic Jethro Tull albums: "Songs from the Wood" and "Minstrel In the Gallery." Acoustic, flute-laden medieval themes. Both albums really capture the mood of autumn. 

While on my way back to work after one of my lunch excursions this week, I noticed a sign that read "Free Art Exhibit Today" in front of the Mills Pond House in St. James. With a few minutes to spare, I stepped into the gallery to find a display called "Midnight Oils." It is a fine art presentation for Hallowe'en that is meant to portray "frightening subject matter cast in a philosophic, romantic, or humorous light." It was a great thing to stumble upon during a work break. The exhibition will be viewable through October 31. Cheers!

"This is what the LORD Almighty said:
'Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion
to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless,
the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil
against each other.'"

~Zechariah 7:9-10