The ramblings of a freelance writer, novelist and avid reader.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Month of Fundays: Day 6 – Going for a Walk

Hello, blog people! Today is a walking kind of day. It’s absolutely gorgeous out – a little too humid still, but I’m not going to complain about the sunshine. If you read this blog at all, you already know I live close enough to the part-time job-hobby to walk most days. You may not know that my normal means of transportation are walking, biking & public transit (MN has a crap bus system but a wonderful lightrail – LRT – system they are slowly, but surely expanding). I’m also the passenger in many a motor vehicle; I don’t drive at all, at all. This is 1-part laziness, 1-part lack of spacial relations and 1-part pure phobia from a horrific car accident in my early, wee years. Possibly, if it were just one of these three things I’d have my license, but the trifecta of bad driving karma makes me think my driving status is never really likely to change. Regardless, walking isn’t something new I’m trying out this month, it’s what I do. Yes, I guess another part of the not driving thing stems from my lack of interest in it. I like to walk, I enjoy bicycling, and I think public transportation causes fewer headaches for me and less stress on our planet.

For a fun day activity, there’s no better time than summertime strolling. Walking, like many things I’m writing about this month, is an excellent group activity and also a brilliant solitary journey. You can walk fast or slow and get different things out of each pace. You can walk to music, quiet, laughter or good conversation. You can have a definite destination or just meander where your feet take you. You can walk from point A to point B or walk in a circle, starting and stopping at the same location. I live in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” and each one has a walking trail around it. When I go for a walk with Chris, we tend to walk around one of these – or stroll through a garden. We live near here, lucky us! Walking with others is a good way to digest your day, calm down or discuss something important. If this is the walk you choose to do today, enjoy it!

The walking I did today was routine – it’s the walk I take every day to the part-time job-hobby. I really have no idea how long the walk is. I’ve done it in 12 minutes and I’ve done it in 40 minutes. I think whatever music I happen to be listening too sets my walking pace and tempo. The solitary walk is something else entirely. Yes, it’s also calming or refreshing, but the walk always helps me find myself, think through difficult things and really, just be. Time stops while I’m walking – no wonder my walking times are so sporadic. My walk takes me through old neighborhoods and right in between my old junior high and high school. Ah, the nostalgia of living and working where you grew up. I cross a couple of decently busy roads and then weave through a number of residential streets. I pass other walkers and bikers each day; people I know by sight, but not by name or acquaintance. There’s a blind woman who lives down the street, a lady who dog sits for her grown up son everyday, a man who lost his son on 9/11 aboard flight 93, a school principal who buys flowers for his wife once a week, and a curmudgeon who is constantly taking picture of his torn up lawn on the corner (he sits in town hall meetings on a regular basis to beg for a bike lane on 102nd St to avoid further lawn damage). I know all of these things about the people on my walk, but I don’t know any of their names! It’s an odd sort of feeling of belonging and sometimes I wonder what they know about me. There’s that girl who doesn’t drive, walking home from her part-time job-hobby. She has another bottle of Diet Dr.Pepper; she must drink a gallon of that every day…

If you choose the daily walk for your day of fun, look around and enjoy it. Try to find something you’ve never seen before; attempt to walk down the other side of the street. Sometimes I think we forget we’re having fun when it’s shrouded in the routine. I went for walks before, but I started my ritual of daily walking when I moved to London. My mom – and her sage advice – told me once, "You can’t belong to a place until you go out and explore it." So that’s what I did my first day in London.
I had this plan to video that walk during my recent trip to the UK, but alas, the best laid plans. I didn’t get to go on the walk – there just wasn’t enough time and we weren’t nearby when free time presented itself. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever learned to use a video recorder, flip camera or anything like that. So instead of literally walking you down memory lane, I will leave you with those vlogbrothers AGAIN – specifically John leaving NYC.

I can’t even describe in words how accurate that is – or how emotional this video leaves me. Enjoy your walk today – wherever it takes you!

What, I’m a writer and a reader. I’m going to leave you without some Robert Frost? I don’t think so!

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

--Robert Frost

Picture: Something you see along the walk. If it’s a walk you frequently take, try for something new or different. When I really look around during my daily amble, I’m always surprised at what I find and what I never even noticed before. And extra points if you get to walk in the rain, which is a more-than-fun activity!

Song: Norah Jones “Sunrise” is about my walking speed today.

Tomorrow: Movie in the Park


  1. Your special relations aren't lacking!

  2. That IS true. My SPACIAL relations are lacking though and I have the bruise on my thigh from yesterday's "random-walking-into-a-parked-car" to prove it.

    Also, boo! I reread my post from yesterday after saying I wasn't going to do that. I counted 10 mistakes. Dammit! I might go fix some of those other ones...

  3. Ugh, 11 mistakes! "...less stress on out planet." Really, Mariah?! At least I've created a new band name.