Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Walking ...

Yes, this really is a post about walking.

Perhaps tomorrow, I'll tackle its fascinating sibling: breathing.

No, not really.

But this morning, I read this Mark's Daily Apple post about walking (I love Mark's Daily Apple; I recommend it often, like now) and one of his points is that our society isn't set up for walking, and indeed, it is not.

Yes, there are the often treacherous slabs of sidewalks that jut up dangerously thanks to tree roots underneath, but in many places, there are no sidewalks at all. What is up with that? Shouldn't they be part of every urban and suburban development?

I like to walk my errands when I can. I like to walk to the post office. I like to walk to my insurance agent's office. I like to walk to the grocery store. I haven't walked to Starbucks in a while (OK, maybe like a year), but I used to walk there every morning. And back. The back part was always more pleasant, being caffeinated. But folks would marvel that I'd make that trek. It's about 3.5 miles, round trip. Not ridiculous. And certainly not ridiculous if you're sucking down a latte for half of the trip. I may not have been burning off as many calories as I was consuming. I may have been gaining weight while I was walking.

Happily, I've mostly sworn off Starbucks. But I miss the walk.

I used to walk to the Hallmark store, as there were sidewalks almost all of the way there, and then I'd just traipse through the grassweeds in front of the store for the final few feet. But then the Hallmark store moved to a ridiculous development that is not only, realistically, too far away for the purposes of walking, but there is a dearth of sidewalks along the way.

Even my Walgreens moved slightly beyond comfortable walking distance.


I have a treadmill, but walking on a treadmill is often boring. Even with tunes.

Walking outside is nice, but I'm easily influenced by the weather. Too hot? No walk. Too humid? No walk. Too cold? No walk. Too windy? No walk. Raining? Forget it. Snowing? Surely you jest.

Yes, that's right: I'm a wuss.

But truthfully, I do walk when walking's called for. One very snowy day, I trudged up and back to the store because my car was out of commission. And after the big storm last year, I walked a lot, but that was largely due to the fact that there were trees lying in the street and my car was trapped in my garage.

But yes, walking. I have such romantic notions about it, of communities where people go for evening strolls, perhaps on their way to a place that sells great ice cream. Or where they walk to farmers' markets and chat about vegetables. Where kids run ahead – safely – and stoop over to pick up caterpillars or pluck a bouquet of dandelions. Where stoop sitters greet passersby and extend an invitation for a glass of lemonade.

I see a fair number of folks out walking in the morning, for exercise, and that's good. (Oh, look, there go two of them now.) But it would be nice to see more people out and about just because.

Oh, I also like to walk to the library. It's nice to have a book on hand in case I want to stop somewhere pleasant and read.


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