When Patrick and I take a walk in our neighborhood, we call it ‘walking the loop.’ I do some of my best thinking while traversing this circuit, and I’ve learned scads about life while repeating this two and a half mile route.
Make plans but be ready for changes.
In the early part of our walk, we plan to stroll side by side but if traffic is heavy we switch to single file. We stay alert for distracted drivers, knowing our survival depends on plunging into the ditch lickety-split.
Familiar does not equal boring.
No matter how many times we walk this path, it is always interesting. We observe the buds of spring transform into full foliage and marvel at the brilliant colors after chlorophyll takes its final bow.
Life has ups and downs, and you need to take care of your neighbors.
As we start down Hill Street, there is less traffic, but our heart rates stay elevated while we hoof up and down steep hills. The speed limit is 25 miles per hour, so I add an aerobic workout chasing cars screaming, “Slow down! There are children living on this street!”
Be open to gifts and beauty along the way.
When we walk along the river there are hills, but we don’t notice them as we catch glimpses of the sparkling water of the Penobscot and spot eagles soaring on thermals. We greet other walkers and pause to admire our friends’ garden while nibbling on plump raspberries scoring an invitation to come back later with a bucket to partake in their abundance.
Though it might not be as exciting, enjoy the plateaus.
As we leave Eden behind, we turn the corner to loop towards home. There is a broad shoulder, so traffic isn’t as terrorizing. There aren’t any spectacular views as we trudge straight ahead on level ground, but our breathing and heart rates revert to normal.
You don’t get out of this journey alive, so enjoy each day.
We turn up an abrupt hill to walk through the graveyard, noticing freshly upturned soil and admiring the artifacts the living place on the graves of their lost loves.
We admire Joann’s shrine adorned with owls, whose husband, Harley, visits every day. He told me they married as teenagers, and no one thought they’d make it, but sixty-four years later, they had the last laugh.
We sit on a stone bench at the top of the hill and admire the vista offering a prayer of gratitude for this day and the lives of the people we love.
Life is absurd, laugh often.
My reverie is interrupted by a flock of chickens marching up the hill, and I offer a cheery greeting. I realize my mistake when they charge towards me and until that moment did not understand the vicious nature of free-range chickens. Our laughter at the thought of chickens pecking at our calves spurs us into action, and we race up and down Hill Street, ending the final leg of our journey playing the adrenaline-producing game of ‘dodging distracted drivers.’
There is no place like home.
We stop to wish our neighbors a good day while we wait for a break in traffic to cross the street. It is pleasant to take a trip but magnificent to come home.
What have you learned about life while taking a walk? Can anyone answer this – why did the deranged chickens cross the road?