One More Walk

walking“We need to take a last walk here before we leave,” Emmy said this morning. We’ve sold our current house, and the moving truck will be here in a few days to move our things to the new place.

It will be bittersweet walking with my little daughter on our old route one last time. We know about every tree and yard and house along the way from memory. Emily has grown up on that route, having accompanied me on the walk before she was even born. Then it was in the stroller, then running and playing the route as a preschooler, then a kindergartner and now, nearly a first grader on the brink of her sixth birthday.

I’ve watched the sunshine in her brown hair that has the gold highlights, seen her limbs get longer and longer and lose their chubbiness. I’ve listened to her questions about the world and God and flowers and birds along that route. Walks are great conversation times with children. You have the privilege of introducing them to the larger world. Those are precious memories to me that are locked away in the bank vault that all mothers have in their hearts.

We tentatively walked near our new house the other day. It will take a while to feel like it’s home. The houses and yards are unfamiliar, and there aren’t sidewalks like there are in our old neighborhood. There is the paved trail to the south of our house where people bike and walk. We’re going to have to explore that. Along the avenue before you turn into our new subdivision there is sidewalk that runs north for quite a ways. The nature preserve to the west of the avenue makes it feel like you are suddenly in the country. I liked that a lot when I drove past.

I met a walking neighbor in her late 70’s. She walks five miles a day. We have met several neighbors who are original home builders/owners in the neighborhood and had a wonderful chat with several the other evening after they approached us while we were working in our yard. New friends are already being made.

I was in the back by my flowers inside my picket fence the other evening when I suddenly heard a high piping voice of a child calling out in excitement.

“Grammy, Grammy!”

It was little Peter, my grandson, and his baby brother Max standing on the other side of my gate, waiting to be let in. Grammy and Grandpa’s new yard.

New adventures are calling, and there are new memories to be made!

“Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment in life.” ~ Unknown

P.S. Tom’s friend who has a big garden came over the other night and told us what we had in our new flower garden and front mound. The previous owner was an avid gardener who clearly knew much about flowers and bushes. He made suggestions about what to pull and what to leave, and with my sister-in-law and her husband’s help this week, the place looks wonderful. They removed some of the dying plants that had been neglected too long and did some pruning back of bushes and roses. Tom, Kris and Mike cut back the beautiful magnolia tree in the front so the light comes into the front of the house now. It’s all coming along, one step at a time.

A Surprise on Heartbreak Hill

hillIt was so warm this week that Tom and I went out after he returned home and took our first real walk of the season. The last little dirty piles of snow from the bitterly cold winter had melted, and the late afternoon air was filled with the promise of spring.

Conversation with Tom is one of my life’s chief pleasures, and we get so deep in discussion at times that I forget where we are walking. There is a big hill that leads to our home, and last summer when Em and I did our three-mile walk several times a week, that hill was a killer at the end. (It always makes me smile to think that my sister, who is two years younger, tosses off marathons and half-marathons, while I congratulate myself on walking for a mile or two.)

My sister has mentioned the last stretch of the Boston Marathon that she has run several times. It’s called “Heartbreak Hill.” Well, my Heartbreak Hill is the one that leads to our house. But as Tom and I were walking earlier this week, I stopped suddenly and realized we were halfway up my Heartbreak Hill without me noticing it. When I am not with Tom, that hill seems enormous, exhausting and so hard to climb when I am tired.  However, when I was with the man I love, the hill faded away as we walked slowly up, deep in conversation.

It occurred to me that this is what love does. It halves the burdens. It makes the difficulties in life easier to face and the hills less daunting. Real love from a good man brings out the strength inside that you didn’t realize was there. Real love doesn’t deplete what is inside another, it bolsters what already exists, however small.

Love doesn’t take away the hills, but it stays with you on the climb, urging you on–not by badgering or hectoring or demanding, but by quietly being there, by listening and showing you how strong you really are.

As Tom and I approach our 20th anniversary this June and I reflect on what comprises a good marriage, I only have to think of that late afternoon walk up the big hill with my best friend, and how I looked back and realized how very far we had come.

Walk On!

Last Valentine’s Day, Tom gave me a gift in a box. I opened it to find a pair of walking shoes that were incredibly light. They were so light that I doubted they would hold up very well. I decided to try them out.

This summer, I have made good use of my gift. I’ve been walking quite a bit. After our long, cold winter, I vowed last spring to make the summer count. So far, so good on my goal! The shoes are fantastic. You don’t need socks – they don’t have laces, GoWalkand they feel like nothing on your feet. In case anyone is interested they are called Skechers GoWalk or GoWalk2. I bought another pair I liked them so much. (This is not a paid ad!)

I walk a course in our neighborhood as many days a week as I can. Initially, I thought I was walking about a mile and a half, but after Tom checked it, it turns out that is was nearly a total of four miles I was walking. I was surprised and pleased at my efforts and after five pounds dropped off, I was even more pleased.

Walking outside has to be one of the biggest helps there is. Mental clarity, a positive mood and the better eating that follows (who wants to squander the effort by eating junk after walking?) make it a winning situation all around.

Emily has accompanied me almost every mile. She runs on ahead and then falls back to talk about everything she sees. She can identify oak trees, maples and birch trees, hydrangeas, roses, black-eyed susans and petunias, and Queen Anne’s Lace, etc. It makes the walk go faster with her commentary.

Doctors used to prescribe nature as a treatment for those who were ill or stressed. It’s coming back into fashion again according to this article at Slate.com, as well it should be. The more advanced technology we get, the more isolated and unnatural our lives become. Worse, technology can invade even walks in nature, undoing many of the advantages. I see people with ear buds in while running or walking. They’re missing an entire symphony of sounds. They are distracting their minds from appreciating even the smells and sights and fresh air which does us all good.

walkingMy only challenge is the long cold winter in this state. There’s no choice in Wisconsin about walking outside a lot of times when the temperature plummets and there is snow and ice. Mall walking or a gym membership is the only solution to keep walking. I hate walking in gyms. The laps around the track seem endless. That’s when it doesn’t hurt to have music or something in your ears as you walk along, at least when you don’t need some quiet for praying or thinking.

One way or another, I hope to keep moving. I’ve written on this before, but I once again have enjoyed the benefits of committed walking, and think that a lot of our ailments in this country could be helped or reduced if we all got out and walked it away!

 

(Making sure a walking plan is OK for your health is worth a check with the doctor if you have health issues.)