Thoreau wrote a great essay on walking. He was a master walker. Since retirement, I have tried to follow Thoreau’s example on walking. I tell people my walking is for exercise and even wear one of those little odometers to see how far I have walked. I take about 3000 – 4000 steps on my morning walks around the neighborhood. It’s only a little over a mile but it’s a good start to my 10,000 steps a day.
The truth is that I’m not only doing it for exercise but it’s a stroll with myself and nature. Thoreau didn’t walk for exercise either. He called it sauntering. My route has varied and I just take in everything along the way.
The morning is by far the best time for walking. If the sun has greater than a 25 degree angle with the horizon it is too late. In the evening it is usually too hot and the mosquitoes are in search of a blood meal best obtained on my ankles or forearm. In the morning sun, there is a misty haze coming from the ground and trees, that is a signal from the earth, announcing it’s awakening. Everything is awakening and it’s just a marvelous time.
On my street there is a pond. The stillness of the water on a summer morning gives a beautiful reflection picture of the trees and sky. You can turn the picture upside down and it looks the same as right side up. The wildlife around the pond is a show itself. It’s a great place to stop, for a minute or two, on my stroll and ponder the meaning of all I see and hear.
A lot of people walk in my neighborhood. The walking people are usually very friendly folks and we often have interesting conversations. The runners are never very friendly, they seem to be in a great deal of pain and don’t want their routine interrupted with a greeting, much less a conversation. The bicycle people whiz by so fast, I hardly know when they have come or gone. It’s just too fast for them to absorb the essence of nature and human contact I experience on my amblings. After my brief outing on foot, I come back to the porch for a cup of coffee and the morning paper. I reflect on the peacefulness I have experienced and then the paper brings me back to the harsh world of reality
Anyway, I love to think about those short daily excursions as I go through the day. The next morning, I’m ready for a refill. I am thinking about stopping my subscription to the paper. If I could then, somehow, prolong the morning it would almost be like being in heaven.