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Mindful : October 2017
or the feeling of your backside on a chair or cushion, here you come back to whatever next catches your eye or ear or nose. It might even be a person. It’s fine if they engage you in a chat, but if it veers toward the serious, it may be time for you to pretend you have somewhere you absolutely must get to. Recently, strolling in my neighborhood, my attention was drawn to the unbelievable din that comes from kids playing in a schoolyard. At the playground’s edge, I noticed two small girls hud- dled under a bush. They were giggling and obvi- ously hiding from their playmates. I only eyed them long enough to take a mental snapshot, but it reminded me of how my own daughters did that decades ago and how my granddaughters doitnowandhowIdiditasachild.Andwhat joy there is in hiding. I saw “the timeless in the transitory.” Everything changes, but not much changes at all. In an unfamiliar place Oneofthebestwaystowanderistodoitina place you’re visiting. If it’s a city you’re famil- iar with, it might be best to pick an area you haven’t been to yet, or at least are less famil- iar with. If you’re going to get off the beaten path, where tourists don’t venture, it may help you to have a local guide. They can show you things they like and answer questions you might have—so long as you enlist them in the spirit of not having too many aims. One of the keys to wandering is to be driven by unending curiosity. Since you don’t have a plan, it’s the questions that emerge from your mind that drive you onward: “ What’s that? Where does that lead? What’s that in the window?” Of course, streets with little stores can be endlessly intriguing. Old junk shops and used book and record stores—stores of all kinds can draw you in—and it’s great to go inside and browse and meet the owners and workers, but it’s good to avoid turning it into a shopping spree. Once money’s involved, things start to get a little serious. Wandering in residential streets holds charms as well. It’s like being dropped into Sim- City. You can see all the different ways we create nests and lives for ourselves, including also sadly those people whose very home is the streets. And streets also give way to parks and squares and plazas, and thankfully benches. One time in Toronto, when my feet were about to give out from beneath me, a park appeared, with plenty of benches and some very interesting winding → Since you don’t have a plan, it’s the questions that emerge from your mind that drive you onward: “What’s that? Where does that lead? What’s that in the window?”