19 August 2009

On Taking a Walk to Clear One's Thinking

Admittedly, I am not really a park person. Despite the fact that my parents used to take me and my brother to jog at the Luneta or ride bikes at the CCP Complex, I never really developed a strong liking for green lawns dotted with benches and the odd bit of statuary. However, there are days when a walk in the park seems to be the only logical solution to a severe case of writer's block or, more frequently, the pangs of [still to-be-admitted and] unrequited love.

I developed this particular habit way, way back in grade school. Benedictine Abbey, you see, was built on a hill and this resulted in a rather peculiar design for the school complex. While the high school building and surrounding grounds (specifically the track oval and covered court) were constructed along conventional lines, the grade school building was a split-level affair built into the side of a hill that sloped appealingly down to the pre-school buildings at its foot. The hillside was a verdant expanse that was mowed infrequently and there were a number of other plants growing haphazardly on it, specifically on the unusual rock formations that became "personal" spaces for a number of children at the time.

I would know; I was one of those kids. My little spot of solace was a jutting bit of rock that looked for all the world like a preacher's pulpit in an old-fashioned church. It was where I would sit and think when I felt that everyone was picking on me. I would just sit there; not crying for once, unusually silent. I would just stare at the foliage around me and take deep breaths of clean, fresh air. With the blahs out of my system, I would go back to class.

In college, trekking over to Harrison Plaza to pick up new David Eddings novels or audio cassettes (CDs being prohibitively expensive at the time and mp3 technology but a dream) between classes replaced those treks to my little "balcony" on the hill. Later still, getting acquainted with the different schools where the oratoricals I competed in kept me from getting too jittery before those nerve-wracking (and throat-drying) contests. (And, truth be told, if anyone told me then that most of the more significant people in my life would be Lasallites, I probably wouldn't have deliberately flunked the entrance exam. But that, my friends, is a story for another day...)

These days, I rarely ever get the chance to get out and take a walk. But, whenever I do, I make it a point to take deep breaths to clear my heads of the cobwebs that have gathered in it over time.

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