We live in a society that values productivity and achieving goals. Work hard, play hard. Worthy attainments, yes. But sometimes overrated in my opinion.
My idea of a full and productive life includes ample amounts of unplanned time. This free time allows me to be spontaneous in joining friends at the last minute for an activity, or it’s a time to chill, or it can be used to wander and wonder.
I frequently opt to wander and wonder. These aimless rambles are on foot or by bike, and are often in my neighborhood or an easy bus ride away. They typically involve exploring streets, paths and alleys in search of the interesting, unusual, odd or beautiful gem. And they always include a pause to take in my surroundings, reflect, and wonder.
I went on an aimless bike ride on Sunday, rolling down the hill to a waterfront park. To my surprise, it was low tide–reason enough to pause, sit, and take in the Puget Sound views.
Back in the saddle, I meandered through neighborhoods, climbing a big hill then pausing to get my breath. I continued following residential streets, turning this way and that, until I found myself in White Center. In a few blocks I came upon a newly built segment of a West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway, complete with this awesome crosswalk button next to the curb–perfect for bicyclists!
My aimless bike ride continued in a northerly direction and before long I found myself at South Seattle College. I pedaled across the quiet campus and followed signs to the Seattle Chinese Garden.
Ditching the bike, I entered the courtyard and checked out the koi pond. A graveled path led me through a stand of bamboo and ornate tall grasses to a covered sitting area. Naturally, I paused here and listened to the wind gently blow through the bamboo. I spotted several homes adjacent to the gardens and imagined how pleasant it would be to view this garden from my windows.
The Chinese Garden is a work in progress. There’s a lot of open space and plans call for the construction of a pagoda-like tower that will offer views of the harbor and downtown Seattle. I made a mental note to myself to follow their build out progress and to also plan a return visit to the garden in a different season.
It was time to head home and bring this aimless bike ride to an end. But what a nice aimless afternoon it had been! Today’s aimless wandering had been filled with small discoveries. From low tide to neighborhood greenway to the Seattle Chinese Garden, each find had been a welcome surprise. It also included physical activity–another benefit of wandering.
Now it’s your turn. Please share one of your aimless wanderings!