You’ve been there…remember that day when you answered a call from your doctor and your heart skipped a beat? His or her voice sounded serious as he shared information from your recent lab test. Now you have a new condition, one you hadn’t hoped for.
A few months ago, I learned my earlier diagnosis of osteopenia had advanced to osteoporosis. I felt depressed. Here was one more reminder I am aging. When I met with my doctor in her office, she prescribed a new calcium supplement and a strict regimen of weight-bearing exercise. She emphasized the importance of walking 40 minutes a day, for five days a week. I like to walk. I just don’t like being told I must walk, for how long, and how often. I thought it would be impossible to discipline myself to that degree.
The Florida heat during the month of August was more than I could bear, so I walked indoors on a treadmill (I call it the dreadmill) for the first few weeks of my exercise program. Even though I listened to my favorite playlist, I found the activity boring. I counted the minutes until I ended each session.
By October, the weather cooled and I could comfortably walk outside. I am fortunate to live in an area with several large ponds. These wetlands provide a perfect habitat for my favorite tree, the cypress.
Whether I walk early morning, or late afternoon, I’ve discovered the light is remarkable for photographing the cypress trees. Some people aren’t aware of the fall season in Florida. During November and December, the needle-like cypress leaves change to burnt orange.
Since these trees are deciduous, they lose their leaves a short while later, similar to trees in northern forests.
There are two types of cypress trees. The bald cypress grows to a height of 150 feet. The pond cypress is smaller (80 feet tall). The trees I see on my walks are of pond cypress variety. The pond cypress are less likely to pop up “knees,” and when they do, the knees are much rounder and shorter.
A pond cypress tree in summer. Note the the “knees” in the foreground
The pond is home to a variety of wildlife. Ducks and squirrels feed on cypress seeds. The trees also provide branches for epiphytes (air plants) which produce fruit that birds enjoy. I marvel at the great white egret who adds to the beauty of the scene. I make a game of trying to see how quick I can snap a photo before the bird takes flight.
Many medicines have unpleasant side effects. But there is nothing unpleasant about my time spent near the pond. The experience always has the same side effect, an uplifted spirit. When I see the beauty of creation, I am reminded of our Creator. God designed the world and all living things within it. The cycles and the seasons of the year operate with precision.
Whenever I take my walks, I think, “This is my medicine. I’m following my doctor’s orders and enjoying nature at the same time. This isn’t so bad after all.”
I can’t appreciate the beauty of nature without giving praise to the one who made it. I love these lines from God is in the Small Stuff and it all Matters by Bruce and Stan.
“When you see a beautiful painting, praise the artist. When you hear a beautiful song, praise the composer. When you experience beauty in nature, praise the Creator.”
I can’t say I’m thankful for my new diagnosis, but I am grateful for the right prescription to treat my condition physically and emotionally. Are you facing a condition whose treatment requires a lifestyle change? How successful have you been at making the necessary change? Think about turning an unpleasant exercise into one you enjoy by incorporating something you’re passionate about. You might find the right prescription.