I've read that it takes a month to create a new habit. And only three or four days to erase it. I don't know if that's true. But I'm trying to create a new habit that I'd like to have all summer and then find an alternate when autumn comes.
This dying tree is at the end of the conservation area beach where I like to walk in the summer, especially early in the morning -- about 8 am. The tree is at the end of the beach which is a mile from the entry point -- very nice walk on a nice day such as today was. Once this tree had leaves but two years with hurricanes have torn out the earth into which most of the roots had sunk and from which it was getting it's nourishment. Now the beach and its sand has advanced about three feet and the tree is, as far as I can see, dead. But people festoon it with broken shells -- I've added a few too. (At the bottom is a circlet of horseshoe crab shells -- washed away months ago.) For the last three years I have I have gone to this beach s early as I could managed and usually walked this far and back, a nice two miles. This habit is fairly well formed. It's quite, peaceful and, that early, I often feel I have the beach almost to myself- at least for the first half hour.
The new habit? I did it today: walked to the tree, stopped and did 15 or 20 minutes of tai chi with a couple of yoga stretches at the end for good measure. That early this end of the beach is private. I had a strong need for privacy when practicing yoga or tai chi. I don't really like classes --although I'm taking tai chi classes in order to learn the routine. I don't want to seem to be showing off and I don't want to feel I am being watched. I want to breathe and move and pay attention to nothing but what my body is doing. If I am in a beautiful place with warm sun and fresh air off the water and the quiet sounds of tide and a few birds, so much the better. But I don't want other humans sharing this time with me. A man walked by as I was in the middle of the routine but I don't think he watched me; as far as I could tell, he plodded along at his slow jog, minding his own exercise and gave me the privacy I felt I needed.
The walk is wonderful, the peace of the tide is just right. If I can get myself out of the house between 7:00 and 8:00 in the morning I should have the privacy I require, perhaps not on the busiest tourist weekends. Except the tourists, in the past, have settled themselves near the walkways to the beach and do not walk out to the end very often. I hope this can be a routine from now through the early part of September at least. It's not impossible later on, but hurricane season brings nasty rain and chilly winds. Then I'll have to find a different routine, probably just indoors at home. I hope for a really nice summer. I never imagined that at this age, I would find myself with a beach to walk and a festooned "shell tree" to watch my exercises.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!