By Dave Cuzzolina
I can never forget the day I found the transformative power of moseying.
I’d witnessed the practice a thousand times. On the sidewalks and streets and in the parks of every city, state and country I’d been in. And no matter how disparate the locales, it remained eerily similar. An older male. Hands clasped behind him. Torso bent forward. Shuffling ahead with a terrapin gait. Head shifting side to side with the crawl of a tank turret.
Appreciative eyes savoring his condensed world.
Relaxed. Peaceful. Contemplative.
Ignoring the hurricane around him, immersed fully and only in his moment.
I regarded it as a mere curiosity until one recent evening in May. On a brisk after-dinner walk through my hardscaped neighborhood, in yet another failed attempt to flush the madness of life and work from my brain, the images of contented moseyers worldwide hijacked my mind’s eye and played like a slideshow until I so envied their serenity I figured why not?
I assumed the position and decelerated to a shuffle. Instantly it felt comfortable and correct, and became significant when I saw the priceless and heretofore impossible achievement it made possible for me.
The Holy Grail of tranquility seekers everywhere. The psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment. My concentrated gaze drenched my brain in the vivid scenery all around me, like the twists of a kaleidoscope, bringing dazzling vistas, previously mere blurred backdrops, into repeated new focus.
The hypnotizing result was a sort of yoga in motion, completely engaging me in the Now. No regretting the past; no fearing the future.
Goodbye to a life of loping strides past gray concrete and stone under and around me. Hello quaint white picket fences cradling trimmed lawns in multiple green tints. Swaggering flower gardens boasting deep-red lilies, purple lilacs, blue irises. Lush-leaved maples and elms and stately oaks hosting colorful cardinals and melodic thrushes.
A neighbor’s roses bordered my path and I stopped for a prolonged dose of their fragrance.
Part of my affection for moseying derives from its harkening to a simpler time. Born and performed in the aisles of general stores as many as three centuries ago, it survives today as the nearly exclusive province of the male cardigan-sweater generation.
Its relegation to an anachronism saddens me. In a modern world of angst-ridden, jet-paced, communication-crazy lifestyles, we need its restorative powers more than ever. A soul-stroking peacefulness. A recharging that doesn’t involve a phone.
My regret is not having discovered the practice sooner. Like decades ago. For the many days that dictated a pace far beyond my inclination to keep up and I cowered in despair.
So, I passed on my discovery to the next generation, encouraging my thirty-something children to mosey, to appreciate its benefits, to not be ashamed of how it might look on a younger person.
They smiled and humored me. They didn’t get it then, but I’m content to know they will someday. Maybe after I’m gone. They’ll remember my urging them to notice the gardens along life’s path, especially the roses. And to pause amidst all the craziness—even for a mere moment—to appreciate their sweetness.