Sunday, December 2, 2012

In Which I Contemplate the Value of Walking.

Today started out with petite flurries flitting past my front window. I was sitting on my pretty little red love seat wrapped in a blanket, dog on my lap and water boiling for tea. The view was picturesque.
Knowing I had errands my vision clouded with the logistics of how best to get what I needed in the most timely fashion. I decided I could entertain a good walk and that it would also give me something to write about as it was cold and starting to snow harder. My destinations were concentrated in a cluster of shops only a fifteen minute walk from my home. I could do this.
I thought of my friend in Thailand. She makes the world her home and like the majority of her neighbours she walks variable distances in order to secure daily and weekly provisions. For her it is a lifestyle choice. When I walk it is a choice. For so many it is not a choice. It is the only means for survival. Strong necks, backs and legs are a necessity in many regions of the world; not a vanity.
We in the west take it for granted that we can hop into our cars and make a five minute trip to the grocery store or hospital.
The value of this lifestyle is not lost on me. Nor is the value of my friends lifestyle which is why we have been sharing stories of walking; which is why I write this blog. The overall aim? To re-evaluate the value I place on my lifestyle.

My friend and I have been talking about our impending fortieth birthdays. There is a lot to evaluate and re-evaluate about how we have ended up in our current incarnations. I have decided that weaning myself from the habitual dependence on convenience is the first step to a stronger, healthier lifestyle. I intend to walk into my fortieth year with an enthusiasm and passion built from the life lessons I am accumulating.
I prepped myself for a walk in the indecisive weather. I dressed in layers, wrapped a scarf around my neck and topped myself off with a black woolen cap.
These boots are made for walking!

I gleefully slid my feet into my newly purchased top of the line winter boots from Columbia, a store that has been supplying most of my adventure gear lately. So far not much weaning going on. I hoisted my backpack onto my shoulders feeling lucky that I wouldn't have to lug home milk and bread on my head.
I opened the front door to find the snow now dropping in thick meaty flakes. The wind drove them into my face as I started down the street, out to the perimeter of my neighbourhood and across the road towards the shops. I walked carefully as I thought. I took in the sights making mental notes here and snapping pictures there. Today was the first heavy snowfall of the season and I thought it very festive. So lost in thought was I that I declared to myself that it would be a perfect day to be sitting on my red couch with hot chocolate and a book. Old habits die hard.
My couch and books and cozy blanket and pillow....!

It was at this moment when I realized that no, I should not be inside sitting, watching the snow fly by my window with all the secrets of a wind that winds itself around the world. I should be out chasing the wind and snatching at the secrets in order to make them my own. That would truly be a productive start to mid-life. I readjusted my thoughts and lightened my step. I was exactly where I needed to be; outside, feeling the sting of the cold and breathing the freshest air of the year.
I returned refreshed in body and spirit having accomplished more than just my errands for the day. I avoided toxic emissions from my car by choosing to walk. I was active which energized my body and my mind. I walked in the cold snow; something I always try to avoid. And, I had an epiphany. I thought that to sit around looking out the window in other parts of the world would mean atrophy, physically and mentally. It could mean death to be so sedentary. Now as I sit on my little couch writing and drinking my tea I have a greater sense of perspective. I realize that my spirit is at stake and my spirit is as important to the value of my life as food.
The best way to chase the value of life is to do so by your own steam power. Value your circumstances. And if you are feeling the need to evaluate or re-evaluate the path you are on, try to do so outside; with purpose. As much as possible. I dare you!


  1. Hurray!!! You walked to do your shopping!! I'm so excited for you! You're right, it's outside that life is to be chased and it's the little decisions that keep our minds, hearts and bodies from atrophying!! I love that we're walking together from a world apart... our paths are going to converge though... get ready! :)

    1. I am training Jenn! And I am so very excited to be on this journey with you too :)

  2. "I should be out chasing the wind and snatching at the secrets in order to make them my own." How beautifully put, words inspired by personal encounter with wind, sharp breath and soft flakes of snow. Aside from the joy of encounter and the inspiration it can bring, I've just recommitted to be more active after reading and writing about the dangers of inactivity, now deemed to be as bad for you as smoking, but so much less obviously risky. Feed your spirit, chase life. Love it! :-)

    1. Hi Stuart,
      Thank you so much for the kind words. I am trying hard to walk everywhere when possible. My big challenge will be when the snow comes! Challenges make for great opportunities to write though so stay tuned! And I would love to hear more from you, about your endeavours to keep fit.
      Take care,

  3. Wonderful entry Jade! So important to constantly be challenging ourselves, even in the everyday, mundane ways that we do (or don't do) things.