It wasn't the kind of day I typically like to be outside. It was a cool 47 degrees, windy and cloudy, the kind of day that often puts a damper on my spirits. But this day, something was different. Toward the end of a solitary, 2-mile walk along a flood control canal, I sat on a bench in a reflective mood. Suddenly, I started to enjoy this early-winter day.
I sat and looked at the gray, hulking, 10-million-year-old Sandia Mountains to the east, with their pockets of new snow in a few areas on the slopes. I listened, and I didn't hear quail making their strange sounds, or the gratingly irritating calls of roadrunners. I heard nothing but a dog barking in the distance and the wind rattling the dead leaves of a nearby tree. I felt the dryness and coolness of the desert air. I smelled the dry leaves of aspen and chamisa and other desert plants. I felt the wind on my face, and I felt at peace, snug and warm in my fleece jacket.
It wasn't a day for photography or for soaking up the sun. It wasn't a day for riding my bike. It was a day for homemade soup, a solitary walk, and enjoying nature from a different perspective.