Skip to content

Meanderer’s Musings: I’m walking, yes indeed

Yesterday morning I walked about a mile with my spouse. We walked for about 15 minutes. It was lovely. Cool in the shade, warm in the sun. We walked fast enough to get things flowing, but slow enough to avoid heavy sweating. We chatted as we walked and kept a look out for feral cats as we walked along the Rails to Trails path. We speculated on the what could be making the not quite rhythmic metal booms and clanks. We made each other laugh by referencing some of our in-jokes. The ones no one else would find funny because they don’t have the context. We told each other some of the things- large and small- we appreciated about the past year.

We did this because yesterday was the last day of 2012 and because today is our fifth anniversary. The walk was meant to help us physically mark re-committing to being physically active and eating better. The talk was meant to help us remember what went right during this past year- individually and in our partnership. But the walk also was a nice way to spend 15 minutes together on a beautiful day.

The walk would have been wonderful even without the “meaningful” talk. The walk would have been good for us even if it did not help make us healthier. The walk itself is meaningful. Simple, shared, regular physical activities- work and recreation- shape our lives. Regularly walking or moving through our neighborhoods connects us to where we live and connects us to each other.

From my walks, I know where the owners of two small white dogs live. I never have seen them together walking those two small white dogs, but I know that those two dogs belong to that particular couple. I have “caught” either of them with the dogs on different spots on the Rails to Trail path, coming out or going into their house, walking down the sidewalk. I do not know them. We do not say hello because both seem to be private folks who avoid eye contact when we cross paths. I don’t know them, but I know them. If I needed to knock on their door, I would feel more comfortable doing so. If one of them needed help when out and about, I would be even more like to help them (I am a goody goody who helps complete strangers, but even I have an easier time helping those I know).

There are some who cannot take a walk in their neighborhood. It isn’t safe for whatever reason. But many of us who can walk don’t. Now I’m going to “should” all over y’all. If you can walk your neighborhood, you should. (You can run if you’d rather run, you can roll if you are in a wheelchair). You should walk for the joy of it. You should walk because your body is meant to move. You should walk because it roots you in your specific time and place. You should walk because it familiarizes you with the who and what of your neighborhood, which I am willing to say helps make your streets safer and might just help you be a better person because you will be more likely to help the nameless but well known faces of your neighbors.

Today, a friend reposted Michael Moore’s note/blog about walking. As you might expect, Moore uses a lot of words to get to one of his points, which is to encourage his followers to walk. One of is other points is that encourage people to be happy with their body, their life right now. He ends with

[W]alk outside with me right now because you know it might just feel good, because it’s a beautiful day, or someone is joining in with you, the fresh air is invigorating, you have to drive down to the drug store but you realize you can walk there, or simply because it’s just nice to be alive for one more day. Walk to walk and nothing else — and the other stuff will take care of itself. I’m heading outside in an hour. Join me. And let me know how it went!

Our culture lauds big goals that take Herculean effort. We celebrate speed and danger and intensity. It has to be big to be good. It is all about the macro. These ideas infect not only consumer culture but also activist culture. Big campaigns, big fights, big changes. Small changes are not enough; we called to put our shoulders to the wall for the huge push that supposedly results in huge changes. Huge pushes often require huge sacrifices. There is a place for that; there is a need for that. But big movements (of self and society) are made up of small moments. As I have gotten older, I have become suspicious of work that does not also notice the small things. We are shaped by the macro and the micro. We can shape the macro and the micro.

On this first day of 2013, I invite y’all on a walk. Walk with me. Walk with Michael Moore. Walk awhile. Put one foot in front of the other. Roll out your door and down your street. It will change your world in a small way.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *