General Non-Fiction posted October 14, 2019

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Silent sports can sometimes speak the loudest.

What do you think?

by Betsy2

I love loud games, loud families, and loud groups.

I also love the feeling of something else - and that's participating in the "silent sports."

For me, there are three silent sports, more like silent exercises. And, even though the number sixty is on the horizon, I felt this way in my twenties as well.

First of all, there's walking. My friend calls it forest bathing and told me it comes from the Japanese. It makes sense because in Japan, nature and harmony are honored and respected. To walk among mighty oaks or sweet smelling fir trees, to feel the crunch of leaves or cushion of pine needles, and to look up and see sun peeking through a canopy of full branches fills the lungs and one's spirit. It can't be rushed, and yet creativity can begin to flow swiftly. Problems can be solved or are washed away when walking. Laughter and free flowing conversations can result. Or, in quiet solitude, a type of prayer is whispered.

Biking can produce the same results as walking, but for me, more so. The clicking of the chain and the gears are the only sounds heard on a country road. My legs and bike have been on lakefront paths, lake shore beaches, and potholed city streets. Biking along a major river, near mountains, and in National Parks can be awe inspiring. I can see things from a bike that others in a car cannot. I can take them in, think about them, and think some more. Biking makes me feel alive. It makes me feel strong. It makes me feel young.

Kayaking rounds out these three activities for me. My little and light kayak can go from the car to the water in a few short minutes. In those few minutes, I cannot believe I am sitting on top of the water and paddling away from the shore under my own power. I see the little ripples the paddle makes, see how my arms methodically take over, and I am off. The sun, the warm temperatures, and my heart beating a bit faster make for a feeling of wonder as I glide across the water. To see a heron on the shore or a fish jump or clouds change shape in front of me is like being part of a painting.

These are the silent sports for me. When alone, these experiences can take on a spiritual quality. Thoughts slow down, answers can be provided, and a grateful perspective appears. When with others, the time flies by, surprisingly fast, as sharing time with family, friends, or a partner takes on a different but also wonderful manner that proves how things shared can bring much happiness.

Walking, biking, and kayaking, while taking us places, represent more than a physical destination. They represent a time to enjoy nature, to share with friends, to be with oneself, and to get to where we want and need to be - namely, inside our heart as we get to know ourselves and our world better. The activities bring me to a place of happiness and reflection, and I can't think of much that is more important than that.

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