Walking is my life.
That may seem like an exaggeration. But for the past 20 years, since I moved back home to Ohio after my grad school days in Atlanta, walking has provided my main mode of transportation. I have lived close enough to work all those years to commute on foot, and for nearly five years I even managed very nicely without owning a car or any other vehicle.
But more than that, I have long considered walking to be my salvation and my consolation. If that sounds borderline heretical, I beg your indulgence.
After repeatedly injuring my lower back many years ago, I found that walking (along with gentle yoga) served to increase my mobility and to loosen my muscles. In times of depression or upheaval, walking offered me a peaceful, semi-meditative space in which to work through my problems. When I felt lonely, walking opened my eyes to the beautiful community around me. And as I became a caregiver to my dying father, walking gave me the chance to let off steam, to work through my grief, and to embrace life.
This year, I am challenging myself to get out and walk even more with the hope of exploring more of the world around me as well as the world within me. I downloaded a walk tracking app for my new smart phone, and after the first week, I’m already having so much fun mapping routes around my neighborhood that I’ve had to increase my weekly goal of 5 miles to 10 miles.
As spring brightens the world around me, I find great pleasure in my peaceful morning walks, watching the sun rise and witnessing the never-ending sequence of flowers blooming with new life: daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, lilacs, and so on. I notice different architectural styles in different neighborhoods, map routes and terrains based on friends I might meet, and return home refreshed, body and soul.
I don’t know how much I’ll be able to keep this up once the hot summer days arrive, but I’m off to a great start.