Some of my favorite, most peaceful moments were during walks. I love taking walks, just meandering.
Even as a kid my cousin and I used to take the long way home when Grandma would send us to the corner store for odds and ends. Cousin and I would “get lost” on purpose and we’d wander the streets and alleys of Highlandtown for entire afternoons. We’d sing and skip and laugh and plan our world domination. Remember we were supposed to form an all girl singing group and rock the casbah…
My brother and I started walking home from grade school when I was about 10. Back then it seemed like such a long, long, walk. We had the best adventures. One summer we were supposed to walk to the bus stop that would take us to Summer Day Camp. We took the wrong bus and ended up lost. We walked to our mom’s workplace. She was stunned! And mad. And I think a little bit proud.
In high school, some classmates and I signed up for the March of Dimes Walkathon. I swear it was something like 23 miles, although I just googled the current marches and they are all about 7 or less. Lightweights. Anyway, by the end, I was hobbling like a prisoner of war who’d just escaped through the Alps. Looking back, it felt almost tortuous, like we were characters out of that Stephen King book where the kids are forced to walk for their lives. Why did we sign up for that? Oh, right, for the babies. Duh. I had to take off school for a couple of days. It was brutal. Haha. I could never be a marathon runner.
By college, walking had become a more solitary and therapeutic venture. The summer after my freshman year, my first love had broken up with me (for the first time- we were very on/off). I was devastated, as much I hate to admit that now. I couldn’t sleep, so I’d lay in bed until the impending sunrise started casting its greyish beams through the venetian blinds and onto the ceiling of my room. I’d hear Mom getting ready for work and would tiptoe outside, put on my headphones and my Pearl Jam CD and walk until “Black”.
Of course, walking during those years was also functional. I was the only person I knew then without a drivers license. So, I did a lot of walking. My junior year, I got a house off campus with two friends. My relationship with one of them ended up turning sour. Very, very sour. *sigh* Walking was a way for me to center my thoughts and try to gather my wits so that I could enter that den of tense silence. That walk from campus to the house was my first experience of zen walking. Of just being present and observing and letting the world soak in. I remember watching a blue plastic grocery bag blowing in the wind and thinking it was trash, but still so elegant. Then that damn movie came out and they stole my idea. American Beauty, I think it was called.
Other fond walking memories from my youth include walking on the Boardwalk. Whether it was on a family vacation to Wildwood, NJ and eating funnel cakes and checking out that year’s ridiculous tee shirt slogans or in Ocean City, MD on a break from college with my girlfriends drinking Mt Dew and cheap vodka out of my water bottle and checking out boys. And, really, there is no place like the Boardwalk to people watch.
These days, obviously, I take walks with Lala & Loopsy. Talk about meandering. Now that they are older and well past the stroller phase, I get to see the world through 4 year old eyes during our walks. Loopsy found a completely flattened frog on the walk/jog trail at our favorite park. She was horrified and fascinated and wondered how it got so so flat. I wondered right along with her. Lately, they’ve been obsessed with seeds and attempt to collect all those helicopter seed pod thingies because they want to plant their own forest. Why? Because that’s where the fairies live. Silly.
Ooh, just thought of another favorite walk! My aunts and my mom started including me in their annual Sisters Weekend to Ocean City. We spend all day Friday walking around the outlet malls. My godmother is probably the most intense shopper I’ve ever met. She wears good shoes, makes sure to layer her clothes so she can strip down to cool off or cover up to get warm, she packs energy bars and water in her purse. No joke. It’s something to see. But, one of the best parts of the trip is the Saturday afternoon walk on the beach. We talk and laugh and people watch and get a good workout in the sand and sun.
Speaking of workouts… Recently, I’ve gotten back to walking on my own, for Mojo purposes, of course. Walking is great exercise. And great therapy. And best of all… It’s free!
I love walking the early mornings in our neighborhood and watching the sun rise over the farm down the street. I love seeing people in their bathrobes letting their dogs out for their morning potty break. I love watching working moms loading their uniformed little ones into the mini van to take them to school. I love that little chin flick thing we do to others walking or jogging past us.
I also love taking walks in the evening, although this makes Bestie very nervous for me. I love peeking through the windows to see what people are watching on TV. I love smelling who is grilling steak for dinner and who is making lasagna. I love seeing a nervous young man carrying a single long stemmed flower up to his date’s front porch on a Friday evening. I love feeling the chill creeping into the air as the sun is fully set.
So, there ya go, Peeps. I love walking.