Monday, March 11, 2013

Big Announcement!!!

Cre8ivewritur has joined up with a friend to create Walkin' It Off. All blog posts can now be found at

Join us as we document our countdown to our upcoming Big Walk ... Check out our Big Announcement at:

Thank you for following my walking and please continue to join us. See you at Walkin' It Off!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Why Do I Walk?

Why do I walk?

Why do any of us walk? The easy answer is this: we walk to get from one place to another of course, but when you really think about it there is more to walking than just movement. Or is there?
With our walking there is an undercurrent that guides our thoughts, thoughts so omnipresent that they seem to circle us, gathering us in their arms and carrying us forward with the syncopation of each step and with each swing of our arm.

Photo Credit: Cheryl Robinson

Sometimes my mind meanders and my feet just follow. Sometimes my feet start moving which then puts into motion the wheels that churn out my thoughts. Either way it is ironic that my feet which normally connect me to the ground also connect to that grand and powerful circuitry that is my daydreams. 

When I walk the breeze flows over me taking with it the ills of the day, washing me clean and clearing my mind.

I like the pace of walking. I like the easy nature of putting one foot in front of another, one thought before another. It is a rythym I can keep up to.
I like being outside. I like walking to the tune of the birds and positioning myself to face the sun. I absorb the glorious warmth that radiates down towards me and by the time I return home I am then able to radiate that warmth back out for the benefit of my husband and children.

Photo Credit: Cheryl Robinson
Why do I walk?
My life moves as fast internally as it does externally and in order to  keep my system synchronized I walk. Either way there is flow. To walk is to balance my energies against the tides of daily life. There is a sense of freedom in stretching one's legs. There is a sense of freedom knowing that the skies can press upon the earth with the girth of grey matter but you can still move. Walking creates breath and breath, soft and sweet seeps into our soul through the wounds that stillness creates.
I walk to stir my soul against that stillness.
How else can there be life?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Season of Walking

Deep Snow, Photo Credit: Cheryl Robinson
Winter is slowly coming to an end. The birds are re-populating the trees and the variable temperatures give rise to cool misty mornings. Ice drips from the eaves and the snowbanks are edging away from the sides of the roads.As I march towards Spring I have a lot to reflect on. The winter season was not an easy one.I paraphrase the Idiot Abroad when I say that deep snow is not meant to be walked through! Living in Canada however, we have no choice. I strapped my feet into skis, snowshoes, and snowboards. I trudged through a blizzard, walked through conservation areas and through my neighbourhood. You could say I have covered a lot of ground.
This coming week will see me turn thirty-nine which will set in motion the count-down to the ever looming fortieth birthday which in North American culture is a milestone as birthdays go. I am meandering towards mid-life and as such I figure I have to reflect on not only the walking I am doing; the geography, the beauty in the small things, the journey, but also the inspiration, the motivation; the quest.
With the rivulets of spring runoff my thoughts will flow. I will walk faster and longer. I will speak to the moods that move me and the seasons that affect my change of pace.
What inner workings keep me in motion? What are the mechanics of my walking?

Lantern Wasteland,  Photo Credit: Cheryl Robinson
This past Fall and Winter I have walked with friends and with my dog. Mostly I have walked alone. Alone with my thoughts. Oftentimes walking in order to clear my head. I have a little friend who walks with me to keep me thinking. I have a friend who walks with me in spirit from half a world away.I am going to add to that list and walk more with my family.

My walking Buddha. Photo Credit: Cheryl Robinson

Walking into this new season I plan to challenge myself.
I am off to a good start but with a little over a year left to prepare for a big journey I need to step it up. Literally.
So stay tuned and walk with me as I face something called the Frontenac Challenge; as I prepare to walk from one town to another; as I challenge myself by walking on different types of terrain. I will be walking through thoughts previously uncharted. I will be walkin' it off in more ways than one.
Walk with me. It won't be in five feet of snow, but it will be a challenge well worth the effort.

Where will you be walking in this season of your life?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Walking: A Day Off!

Have I have mentioned before that I am currently working on a big project?
It is going to involve quite a bit of walking. Planning for the project means some shuffling of blog posts past and present so while I move some of my previous posts from other sites around bear with me and enjoy some of my older writing! This week I present to you a post from the summer of 2011.
A day off from walking...(and a moment off from the winter!)

The story of St. Lawrence.

I lay on the bow of the boat listening to the Stones against the backdrop of kids leaping into the river and waves lapping against the shore. The sun was hot and strong; the air hotter and stronger. Any ambition, any motivation to take a hike floated away with the currents.My first day of vacation and all I wanted to do was to spend time with my family. I had spent the afternoon watching my dog chase waves and bark at the boats. I ate fresh raspberries and my mother's homemade chocolate chip cookies. I congratulated my son on the fish he caught and scrambled to get out of the water when he released said fish a little too close to me. At the same time a limp fillet of dead fish flesh floated by thus hastening my migration to the boat. The movement of the boat lulled me into the depths of sensation. The humid air carried the scent of the river and of the trees that crawled over the islands. The water carried the sounds of the boats some humming, some sputtering and others with sails flapping as they passed. The breeze was gentle and soft like a fine silk scarf playing about my hair. I felt languid and tasted sleep. Sweet soft afternoon.

One of the thousands of islands that dot the St. Lawrence River in Canada. 


The next day saw me lying on a sandy beach sipping the rays of sun that beat down around me. Sand buried tanned bodies, sand spilled into the crevices of our blankets, towels and chairs and sand crunched between our molars. More fresh raspberries deposited seeds into our sandy mouths and watermelon washed us clean. Sandwiches crafted with care and bags of chips and Doritos also filled the bellies of the hungry masses of children who have accompanied us on our trip. This day saw the air fill with footballs and Frisbees. Picnic tables sat under the poplar
trees at the top of sand dunes. Great families congregated and young lovers embraced. People pranced like porpoises in the gleaming water.
By the end of the day the sun had siphoned energy from our bodies and we limply filed like ants in a column to the parking lots. The cars welcomed us like bread to a toaster. And we all slept that night like logs in an overgrown forest. Cool and tired beneath thin sheets.
No. No walking for me this weekend.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Walking: Of Solace and Birdsong.

Where does the merry-go-round of life take you?

It has been a long tough winter. The ups of clear skies tempered with the downs of freezing blizzards and grey clouds has made this mild day the perfect day to sit still. I wanted to take advantage of the coaxing air to slip into the woods unseen by anyone save for the breeze whose whispers fall from the tops of the pine trees. I wanted anonymity from those save for the gentle snowflakes that sighed each time one tapped my shoulder or rested on my eyelash. The only sounds I looked for today was of birdsong. Winter in Canada means that bird sightings are rare, especially in urban areas but if you step lightly into the forest you may catch the warbles and chirps of the Royal red cardinals and the charming chickadees. I wanted to take off today and find the company of those birds, those birds who could reassure me that the sun still shone above the clouds. They know. They fly up there all of the time.

My merry-go-round has its ups and downs.

My memories danced last night with my dreams and plotted this morning with déjà-vu. The damp smell of the earth rose to greet me as I stepped outside. My ears strained to recall the sunrise songs and twilight lullabies of the birds on the edges of their nests. There was one place I knew I could satiate my soul today, a place that could best whisper to me the secrets of the coming Spring; the Little Cataraqui Conservation Area.

 The conservation area is an isolated patch of protected woodland that houses those birds who decided to winter in Canada. It is also an oasis of calm. From the moment I stepped onto the boardwalk and crossed the pond and landed on the trails I knew I was in for the walk that I needed.

How do you approach an amusement ride?

Aside from a good pair of shoes and some direction I bring with me intent. Today's intent was to find somewhere quiet where I could fully appreciate the silence of the natural world on a quiet weekday afternoon. I was intent on finding just the right accompaniment for my journey. Just the right amount of song to lift my spirits.I was intent on coming home with a smile.
I slipped down the path towards the chickadee feeding area and was immediately embraced by the trees. Having reached the inner sanctum,the wind was now bound by the thick lattice work of branches and muted. The only sounds as I stood still and watched was of the tic tic tic of the snow hitting the dried leaves and pine needles. I found a bench and sat.
 It was still.
 I heard not a peep or a peck nor a cheep nor a speck.
I knocked but no one was home.
 Finally I ventured further in to the underbelly of the underbrush. I stood again. Then I heard it. A little warble coming from far and high away.I gave a polite 'ahem' to signal my presence and lifted my hand which cupped a thousand tiny seeds in offering. In exchange for food the birds made songs. Soon word had spread throughout the forest and the chickadees arrived.
Having a conversation.
 The air was filled with the flapping of wings and the chatter of birdsong and conversation. The air whirled and stirred with their presence but the most beautiful sound of all was their song. Spring came alive for me at that moment. The sun came out and met my face. I relaxed. The birds happily met me half way to remind me that solace is nice, but isolation is too much.
My merry-go-round brought me full circle.

 Back to my dreams of finding solace in the woods, of finding space to dream, to sigh, to dance with my ideas until I have a plan for them.It is amazing what things a little birdie can tell you and what's even more amazing is their song which reminds us that, with some presence and sound, the world is still turning.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Walking: The Sounds of a Snow Day

Jack Frost was too busy to tap at my window the other night. I dare say the poor chap was probably hidden in an alcove somewhere clinging for his life as the winds were uproariously vicious; merciless. And it wasn't just the wind; it was the snow that flew with it. On average twenty to forty centimetres of snow landed in Southern Ontario. The storm left a swath of snowbanks dotting the landscape with little mountains.

My kids scaling the mountain of snow removed from the train station parking lot.
 Snow storms of such magnitude rarely occur here so what to do when the opportunity presents itself? Why, walk of course!
Now, I am not a fan of the cold. In fact I despise it. I like the humid tropical heat found in the south and the muggy evenings by the lake in the Canadian summer. Snow however, I like. Blizzards I like even more. So I grabbed my friend, who grabbed her camera, and we set out to explore the very heights of the city encased in this extraordinary natural event. The roads were slippery and thick with rutted snow. My wipers froze up requiring that I jump out and clear them every ten minutes. Trucks were trapped trying to turn corners and everywhere the sound of wheels turning and engines revving could be heard. Everywhere people were out helping their neighbours shovel and push cars out of deep snow. My friend noted the beauty in these situations that bring communities together.My wipers danced in tune to the music in the car. We made it though. We arrived to a barren landscape that was the parking lot at Fort Henry Hill.

If you look closely you can make out kite boarders in the distance.
Photo Credit: Cheryl Robinson

The wind screamed at us and in the distance was the audible swoosh-swoosh of a kite as it swooped and sashayed in the sky, pulling snowboarders up and down the hill. I was determined to capture the essence of the day so my friend and I ploughed on around the fort to where we could see the city. Of course, the city was hiding under the cloud of snow. What should have been the cityscape and lake before me was only a swarm of snowflakes buzzing en mass like a giant white hive of albino bees.
There is no walking in the snow, only ploughing through.
Photo Credit: Cheryl Robinson
Returning to the car we had to face the wind. We wrapped our scarves around our heads but the wind found its way in to snap at earlobes and to bite at our eyes. The only sound was the insular rhythm of our breathing and the flapping of our hoods.
Our second stop was closer to the lake. We walked around the dry docks where the summer cruise boats rest. They sat, sleeping, hibernating, huddled together with eyes closed daydreaming about the sunny days and warm blue-green waters.

What sounds does mother nature bring to you today?

Walking at the dry docks.
Photo Credit: Cheryl Robinson

They sang themselves to sleep, surrounded by the lullaby of water trickling,bells and the sting of the mast lines as they slapped against steel. I was enthralled by the harmonic steel band songs coming from the seeming graveyard of boats.
Of course there are the inevitable sounds that come with a snow storm. The buzzing of snow throwers and snow blowers. The rumble and scraping of the snowplows and the stumbling crunch of sidewalk plows that bumble precariously down the streets. The whoops and hollers of the kids who are granted a snow day and of course, the hiss and screams of the kettles that keep us in supply of our tea and hot chocolate.

Me on the left walking, sidewalk plow on the left.
Photo Credit: Cheryl Robinson

Pictures speak a thousand words so I leave you to contemplate the sounds of the snow and with a couple of pictures that my friend so graciously captured for me during our adventures. They scream 'winter'; a picture of me bracing against the blizzard and a picture of my companion backpack Buddha who has started to walk with me.

The snow stung my face while the wind stole my breath.
Photo Credit: Cheryl Robinson
Buddha on a bench in a blizzard.
Photo Credit: Cheryl Robinson

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Walking: Moving To The Music.

There is a rhythm, a gait, a pace that we set to our walking. We carry ourselves like a song. Some days we drag ourselves around as though our world is accompanied by a slow moving second movement to that symphony that is our life. Some days it is the upbeat bop-around bouncing on our toes to the tune of J-Lo. Some days we walk with tears in our eyes and move as though life is truly entwined in the great drama that is an opera. Take a look at Dame Janet Baker singing the aria When I am Laid in Earth from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. Watch how the slow, lament of a song matches her movements.

Our arms naturally swing with our step. Our hips sway, we bounce, we sink down then swell up again. Walking is like a piano concerto where our feet sets the time and the rest of our limbs fall into place at the appropriate moment. Our body works together with all the parts including the brain. The following clip shows in detail how our bodies move with music and how the different part naturally move in sync. The conductor in particular is the embodiment of the song. He may not be walking but it is clear he cannot stop his feet from moving.

It is interesting how our emotions influence our movement. We think then all of a sudden our thoughts travel to our feet and we are storming out the door in anger to take a walk. Walking is an escape from the world when it closes in on us. We naturally look for the open sky and physiologically we feel the need to get the blood pumping through our system.
Walking soothes our minds. I don't know where the thoughts go, but I have walked enough to know that upon returning from one of my marches or ambles I feel my head is clear.
Watch the following Foo Fighters video where Dave Grohl takes an interesting walk. You can see the change in gait depending on the how he is feeling.

We walk to expel from our spirits the thoughts that plague us. When we are angry or restless or under pressure we walk. The very act of walking to the tune of the nature that surrounds us has a tendency to calm us. Subconsciously the sounds of the birds, the wind through trees, the swish of traffic in the distance all serves as accompaniment to the song that walks with us.

What is the soundtrack to your life?

I take a walk. I walk everyday to whatever tune has been preset by my mood. If I want to change my mood I change the settings on my inner radio. I walk with soundtracks. When I am running late for work I walk to the Stones Sympathy for the devil or Barbara Streisand by Duck Sauce. When I have time to daydream I may walk to James Blunt or Pink Floyd, Ifnatree or Coldplay.

As I head out for a walk my spirit is a little fun today so I leave you with Nancy Sinatra.....what would a post be about walking and music and movement if I didn't leave you with a link to her These Boots Are Made For Walking?!