Listening to my favorite podcasts, and the restorative peace of a good walk

O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
    Your glory is higher than the heavens.
 You have taught children and infants
    to tell of your strength,
silencing your enemies
    and all who oppose you.

 When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
    the moon and the stars you set in place—
 what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
    human beings that you should care for them?

Psalm 8

– Derek Maul lives and writes in Wake Forest

One of the many benefits of having a big dog is the long hikes. Thirty minutes at the beginning of the day, then forty-five at night. We have a great neighborhood for walking, with gentle hills and sidewalks on just about every street. Max is, essentially, my personal trainer.

Morning walks are deliciously – and intentionally – quiet. The mile and a half provides an opportunity to breathe in the cool fresh air, prepare for the day, meditate, and pray. In the evening I will also listen to podcasts and see what I can learn.

My favorite pods (at the moment) are “Hidden Brain”, “Dan Snow’s History Hit”, “TED radio Hour”, “Wait-Wait Don’t Tell Me!”, and “The NPR Politics Podcast”.

  • The NPR pod does a good job of summing up what’s been going on in politics, telling the story without partisan commentary.
  • Hidden Brain delves into current research in psychology, unraveling the mystery of human thinking and behavior.
  • Dan Snow is a British historian who interviews experts in topics such as “The Battle of Trafalgar”, “The English Monarchy”, “The Manhattan Project”, “The Sinking of the Bismark”, or, on tap for this evening’s walk, “The Fall of the Berlin Wall.”
  • The TED radio hour, as you might expect, features excerpts from TED talks alongside interviews with the speakers.
  • The Wait-Wait is simply good entertainment, funny and vaguely informative at the same time!

The best walks, however, are often those where I stuff the earphones into my pocket and just breath in the fresh air, and enjoy the amazing privilege it is to live somewhere where I can safely wander the neighborhood late in the evening.

Wednesday I was listening to some report on the contentious midterm elections. Then I looked up and saw how captivating the night sky was (below). One glance was all I needed to realize where my focus needed to be.

O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
    Your glory is higher than the heavens.

Peace to all, in the beautiful name of the Prince of Peace. – DEREK

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