August 17, 2011


There are many books extolling the merits of walking. Andrew Weil and Mark Fenton co-authored one called “Walking” and I even found “Walking for Dummies.” I wasn’t tempted to buy the latter as I’ve never been smart enough understand any of the Dummies books.

Newer works on the subject recommend mixing a fast pace with a slow one for maximum cardio benefit. At almost 75, I walk to make sure I can. I walk because it often becomes an adventure.

(photo: jesslray)

Last Monday, I encountered a woman sitting cross-legged on the curb with brushes and paints beside her. Her canvas was her car. She was tole painting it with poppies and butterflies and long stemmed roses. The work was beautiful so I stopped to chat.The artist, I discovered, wasn’t an artist, but a high school science teacher. Decorating her car was an expression of her creative side.

On another day, I met a pair of middle-aged woman who were admiring a garden with a waterfall. I, too, often pass that point to stand and stare. But on that day, the two strangers opened my eyes. They guided me around the corner to a spot where one could peek into the north garden, past the shrubs and hedges. There I spied a secret space bursting with floral exuberance. Who knew?

Today, walking home from the park, I met another young woman. She was sitting under the shade of a tree, devouring an apple. The bicycle parked beside her pulled a little cart with a sign that read “Soup Cycle.”  I learned she ran a small business delivering homemade soup in the neighborhood once a week. For $10, I could order a pint from an extensive menu which also included thick slices of rustic breads. I thought her service a bargain and took her card.

I freely admit that, being a walker, I tend to feel smug. At my snail’s pace, I’ve discovered worlds within worlds in my neighborhood… something a runner doesn’t have time to explore.