Making the Rounds

In his book Keep Going, Austin Kleon references the US Postal Service’s unofficial slogan in describing his family’s morning walk routine.

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

This morning, on a day where the Canada Post has been delayed or shut down due to winter storms and cold in parts of the country, and cold weather has become the sole topic of conversation around the water cooler, I made my regular – albeit shortened – rounds, pulling on my layers and shoes to go for a run.

I’ve lately realized the importance of this morning routine, as its become baked into my daily rhythm. The morning run is an opportunity, not only to clear my head and get some exercise, but to check in on the world. My route – often the same loop or two through the forest path near my house – has become a sort of “appointed rounds.”

Rather than bored by the monotony, I’ve become curious, even more so during changing seasons and unusual weather. As the seasons change, I observe the transformation of the trees, changes in air temperature, and sunlight (or lack thereof) day by day. In the fall, I notice the deer in the fields. In the spring, the foxes darting to their dens and the new growth everywhere.

And when it’s -30°, the styrofoam-squeakiness of the snow…

When I’ve gone days or weeks without running my familiar route, I start to feel the pull to go back. What’s changed? Has anything happened? What have I missed?

The benefit of the daily rounds is that you begin to realize that the world around you is always changing. And along with that, you the observer are changing as well. Amy Krouse Rosenthal told us to “pay attention to what you pay attention to” (thanks for this one too, Austin), and a good way of doing so is to have a daily routine.

Do you have a similar daily routine? What do you notice as you make the rounds?