It has been almost three months since Mom’s car had to be taken off the road. And while I still yearn for an adult-sized tricycle to get me around more efficiently and safely than my feet, I’ve also learned a great deal from this experience:
1. People look at walking, and sometimes even bicycling, everywhere as hardship!!??! In some ways, that’s true. When you’re forced to “grocery shop” for only what you can easily carry two miles from the local grocery store, it does get “old” and it makes for having to seriously manage your time and resources better. Those little hand shopping carts they sell in department stores everywhere help but…
2. Little hand shopping carts filled to the brim with cases of cat food and cat litter do NOT make it up steep hills without making one feel a deeper empathy for beasts of burden.
3. Friends come from unexpected places.
4. Walking in extreme cold is much easier than walking in 90+ degree temperatures; an extra layer or two, a good pair of gloves and socks to cover the extremities, and a hat make all the difference when it’s cold…and a brisk pace will set the blood moving that much faster. One can only remove so many layers of clothing before Connecticut’s finest gets involved…
5. Those kitchy, supposedly eco-friendly reusable grocery bags, when full, are much more capable of cutting off circulation in your fingertips than are the equally-full, bad-for-the-environment plastic numbers.
6. You meet people when you walk…neighbors…people you would never meet when behind the wheel; find a sense of community you never knew existed.
7. Despite traversing concrete walkways and macadam road shoulders, walking puts you deeper in touch with nature. Damage done by this year’s gypsy moth invasion; small wetland areas on the other side of guard rails…and the diversity of life that lives in them; longer days/shorter nights; shortening days and lengthening nights; sadly, a greater awareness of how many creatures really lose their lives on a major interstate all become more apparent when walking.
8. My piggy bank has grown due to all of the loose change found in parking lots, breakdown lanes and along the sidewalks near local gas stations.
9. Bursitis flare-ups, sore knees, hips, calves all help to remind me that I’m not 25 anymore.
10. Despite the 6 lbs. lost when I first started, walking alone will not readily shed pounds if a proper diet is not incorporated with it.
11. My status as a single woman seems to have reached the attention of far too many local gentlemen…
12. Wearing a bright, fluorescent vest (so that you become more visible to local traffic while traveling on the shoulder of the road) when visiting the local Walmart will get you mistaken for an employee…and prompt you to memorize where everything is located in the store so you can answer all those “Can you tell me where (fill in the blank) is, please?” sort of questions.
13. Wearing a bright, fluorescent vest often gets you mistaken for a crossing guard.
14. Trying to traverse 2 miles of extremely hilly territory without arch supports in your shoes is a good way to flare bursitis up…especially if you’re over 50.
15. Horror stories of missing women flash through your head when you walk home at dusk.
16. Strange men will offer you a ride.
17. Strange men who are also attractive will also offer you a ride…tempting good reason but provide relief that such good reason still exists as you pick up your pace towards home.
18. I don’t tan; I freckle.
19. Even if it is only 2 miles, travel light.
20. We need a better infrastructure in our cities and towns…one that includes sidewalks that connect everything so that people can walk safely; bicycle lanes so that cyclists can also travel safely, and good public transportation lines that don’t require walking several miles to a small handful of bus stops.
21. While there are buses in northeastern Connecticut that will come directly to your doorstep–elderly and disabled only–it took over 3 weeks for Mom to get her bus pass…I wonder how many other seniors and disabled persons are left isolated due to their lack of transportation…
22. Even with a bright, fluorescent vest on, motorists do not stop for pedestrians in the crosswalks…especially if that crosswalk crosses the entrance to Walmart’s parking lot.
23. Walking in the rain, as long as there isn’t any lightning to go with it, is actually kind of fun…sort of like being a kid again and splashing in the puddles.
24. The creative genius engages while walking…I “write” my best chapters, work out my best plots when I walk.
25. Walking provides the perfect medium for finding that quiet stillness where we meet God.
May God bless you & keep you!