A few years ago, I began taking a daily walk in my neighborhood. This ritual began as a simple way to get a little fresh air and exercise first thing each morning before my day launched into its usual whirlwind of activity.

When I first started my walk, it was summer and the weather was in flux. It didn’t matter whether it was hot and humid or cool and comfortable, because I felt that being outside and taking a stroll would be a good start to my day. Along the way, I listened and at first, I noticed the birds singing. I became mindful of the ones I heard as a child and it brought back some wonderful memories. I tried to identify their species and thought about the bird book my mother used to distinguish them.

When the season turned to fall, I realized how much I loved the cooler, crisp air and watched with great interest as the leaves on various trees began to make their exit. The colorful hues of red, orange and yellow made for a beautiful backdrop to the landscape as I looked up and down the side streets to notice the variations of their shades.

The swift change from fall to winter called for more layers of clothing, but I did not cease my daily activity until the streets became impassable with snowbanks and ice. I opted for my exercise bike in the basement until the weather improved.

In the spring, when it was clear enough to safely walk the streets again, I realized how much I missed the sights and sounds as well as the ritual of clearing the cobwebs from my brain. I didn’t walk at the same time each day and realized that I often met other folks walking their dogs, putting out the trash or taking the same stroll that I did. Friendly greetings and brief conversations took place as I meandered up and down my route.

About a year and a half after I began this routine, my mother passed away and my daily ritual took on new meaning. Some mornings I had tears in my eyes as I thought about the lifetime of memories. The bird songs, changing leaves and friendly morning greetings made me realize how much she appreciated the little things and gave that gift to me. As I was working through my sadness, I started finding pennies, one at a time. It was not every day, but about once a week, and never in the same place. It has been almost a year since my mother passed, and the pennies continue to appear.

It is said that when you find a penny, it is a loved one reaching from beyond. I don’t know if it’s true or if there are just some careless kids in my neighborhood, but I will take it as a sign that my mum wants me to keep on my journey.