Monday, July 16

Walking

My dog, Apollo, who got so hot that day, I cut my walk short and just watched him lay in the shade.

This past May, I started taking morning walks. Mornings are a must for me. Get it done and out of the way as soon as possible, before I can find a reason not to go. Usually, I end up sitting at my desk, reading emails and blogs, checking facebook and basically losing track of time.

The thing that finally got me going on this fitness track, after years and years of resisting exercise, was a conversation thread on my facebook blogger group; it flipped a mental switch for me, a nudge to help me stop making lame excuses. Blogger Courtney Foster said something along the lines of: just get started. It doesn't matter how fast or how far, just go, 2-3 times a week. I've heard this before but for no particular reason, in that moment, it resonated with me.

One morning, I just woke up with the resolve to get started. I rolled out of bed, put on my barely-worn runners and started huffing it up the hills in my neighborhood. Out of air and breathing like I had asthma, I walked every day for a week, then most days for a month. I started off with 30 minute walks, choosing a route with no resistance and a few weeks later, I increased it to an hour and started looking for hills and stairs to challenge myself. I'm still not running, but I have picked up yoga. Both are low impact on my feet (fallen arches) which has been my biggest hurdle and my most convenient excuse.

Every day I have to fight the lazy in me even though I feel great afterwards. The weight is not coming off very fast, and by not very fast, I mean barely at all. It is sometimes discouraging, but I absolutely see changes in my body. For one, I'm much more tan this year. Dark skin has a nice slimming effect, doesn't it?

Besides the weight loss and health aspects, my favorite part about walking is having that time in the morning to be a part of my neighborhood. I know which houses have been broken into, what flowers are blooming, how I hate the trash rules in Missouri (no receptacles means a lot of litter on the streets come trash day). I've run into the same people, a friendly woman also named Lynn who I ate mulberries with, plucked straight from the tree, an older couple who don't look old enough to be retired, a guy who must live next door to his family because he brings a plate over every morning for breakfast and the group of businessmen who gather once a month at one of my favorite houses.

It's the rhythm and balance of life, every single day, that you don't see when you're zipping past in your car or even on your bike. You see the perfectly shaped bird's nest someone picked up and placed along the wall. You see the vegetable gardens and monitor their growth. You see people leaving for work and say, he must be a chef. Or walk past a house with a Range Rover, statuaries and flags and think, maybe they're European. You learn to wave and smile and be friendly.

It's not always the first thing you want to do, or even the last thing you want to do. Just jump that mental hurdle and get out there. The weather may be too hot, too cold, too rainy. But it's still lovely outside.

These are some of the things I see from day to day, as I walk with my ear buds in, enjoying the solitude and quiet hours of the early morning day.

Two houses in our area broken into recently.
Both were renters and had no insurance but lots of electronics.
Something about a lush, green archway sparks the imagination.
Fuzzy like lamb's ear and structured like a succulent, what is this plant?
Center stalk grows tall with yellow blooms.
I admired a fruit-bombed cherry tree for weeks and was rewarded for my patience and not stealing.
Just your regular, ol' leather couch on the street.
Love, love, love this head. It's big and creepy and watches you walk.
A perfect nest.
Road kill. Two dead opossums lay on the sidewalk for weeks. The one on the sidewalk shifted a bit as it probably got stepped on and kicked about. The one in the grass pretty much stay put. Every morning, I'd look to see if they somehow got picked up and one morning, I looked so hard, I missed it which resulted in stepping on it. Still gave me the heebie jeebies. You should have seen me screaming and jumping like I was attacked. I was quite a sight.
Escargot, yo.

1 comment:

backyardink said...

i am so with you about the walking. :) isn't it nice to have a change of pace when you have such a busy life? too bad we're not neighbors or we could become walking buddies...but like you said, the solitude can be pretty refreshing. can't wait to see more pictures from your walks, these are great!