Take a ‘Flower Walk’ for a Breath of Fresh Air

Even if all you see are dandelions and clover, noticing the colorful, growing things around you can refresh your whole outlook.

Posted in , Jul 13, 2017

Smell the flowers for a positive experience.

If “the earth laughs in flowers,” as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, summer is the most laughter-filled season. At this time of year, gardens are bursting with blooms and blossoms, and the sights and smells of nature at its most joyful are on full display.

One of my favorite ways to embrace the season is to take a “flower walk.” I live outside of Boston, where the growing, blooming season is short but stunning. On weekends, my family might head to a park or public garden. But every day of the week, I try to turn a simple walk around the block into an opportunity to celebrate summer’s glory.

Here are some tips to help you tune in to the laughter of the beautiful, blooming earth:

1.  Snap a Photo
It might sound like pointing your phone at a flower is a distraction from just experiencing its beauty, but I find photographing flowers to be a calming exercise in concentration, allowing me to notice the shapes of petals, the variations in colors, and the component parts of the blooms. Plus, taking a photo requires getting closer to the flower, which focuses our attention on it and not on the cars, houses, people and other things that surround us.

2.  Look for Something New
When I walk around my neighborhood, I look for what’s new. What has my neighbor planted that wasn’t there last week and which plants and flowers have I never seen before? On a public bike path through my town, I might look for a wildflower hiding behind a tree or between blades of grass. Training my eyes to look for changes from my last walk is a mindful practice of paying attention to my surroundings—and giving me opportunities to admire and feel grateful for the skills of my green-thumbed neighbors.

3.  Use All Your Senses
If a flower is growing close to where you are walking, don’t be afraid to get into its space a little bit. Take a whiff—does it smell floral or just of clean soil? Gently touch its petals and leaves—does it feel velvety or is there a texture to it? Even if it’s a humble daisy or wildflower you’ve seen a thousand times before, taking in flowers with more than just your eyes brings them into a three-dimensional sensory experience that is pure pleasure. 

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