And then there was the time ... 6/11/17

One of the books on my table now is Bill Bryson's newest, The Road to Little Dribbling (Adventures of an American in Britain), published in 2015.  Anything written by him tickles my funny bone, and this book is no exception.  The guy cracks me up.  For instance, this excerpt below made me snicker, followed by a gradual nod in agreement: 
What a joy walking is.  All the cares of life, all the hopeless, inept, f**kwits that God has strewn along the Bill Bryson Highway of Life, suddenly seem far away and harmless, and the world becomes languid and welcoming and good.
Well, it didn't take my mind long to drift, recalling some memorable walks I've taken over the years. Oh yes, what a joy walking is!  I bet I've put a gazillion miles on my feet, beginning with back and forth from home to kindergarten, a very long time ago!  While my feet have grown weary plenty of times, I feel like I grow with each walk I take, and my walking has taught me a few things, or maybe I should say opened me to some of the better aspects of life.

If I hadn't been pushing a stroller (almost daily) with my colicky son in 1980, I would've missed meeting my long-time pal, Lyn, in our Santa Ana neighborhood.  Her son was two at the time, and she reached out to me, the new mother.  Lyn and I don't see each other often enough anymore, but when we get on the phone, we'll reminisce and giggle over crazy shenanigans that made us LOL even then.  We had such fun.  We're kindred spirits who relish being outdoors. 💓

As an office worker, I was cooped up inside from 8 to 5, except at lunch, and then if a park or a lake was nearby, I'd take my sandwich and head outside on fine days.  I always saw something of interest on these walks -- birds, turtles, clouds.  People, too.  One lunch hour while walking around a lake in Baton Rouge, I saw a young man slouched in the grass near the shore, and something didn't look right.  I walked past him, stopped, turned around and approached him.  A troubled teen.  I asked if I could sit next to him and he replied yes.  We commenced talking.  He was despondent.  I offered him a caring ear, and shared a few bits of wisdom (gained from age) when needed.  I didn't leave till I felt he was okay, though I was overdue from lunch.  Sometimes we're in the right place at the right time.  In my heart I believe I helped this youth, though I got in trouble at the office.  Serendipitous walking.

Call 'em what you will -- walk, stroll, ramble or roam, even hike.  These days it isn't always easy for me to define "walk."  Sometimes walking turns into a hike, or vice versa.  Many of my walks were lone junkets, quiet and contemplative, but walking with friends or family can be such a delight!  These days, Jimmy and I love to be Out and About, walking or hiking.  (I am so looking forward to him getting the "all clear" from his knee doc, allowing him to hit the trails once again.)

My creative juices flow like a river when I'm out walking, at least when I'm on my own.  I can dream up stories, "write" paragraphs and poems, create a menu, a letter or an email, or plan a trip itinerary.  I've written, keeping a journal or diary most of my life; in fact, some of my stories have been published.  And I'm hear to tell you, many of my ideas popped up while I was on my feet!  Nowadays, most of my creativity is unleashed on this blog, each post a story via text and photos, but here's a little rhyme I wrote back in 1999:

Not a Pulitzer prize winner, I know!
(Enlarge to read it and then use your back arrow to return to this post)

Walking is a spiritual experience for me, as I behold earth's bounty and beauty, the smiles and greetings from strangers I encounter.  I can walk out my front door feeling heavy and doomed (maybe over politics?) and with each step, I can shed the mulligrubs and angst like a trapped fish escaping a net.  I hate seeing litter and graffiti, but feeling negative emotions when I see so much that is good simply doesn't work for me.  Good overpowers bad.

But some walks involve nothing more than the thrill of being ... like the time my high school chum, Jean, and I decided to go for a walk ... in a full-fledged Niagara Falls blizzard, and almost got caught in a snowplow's path!  Well, heck, we wanted to see our boyfriends play in their band, and it wasn't our fault a blizzard was raging.  We were young and obstinate, sure that we'd be okay.  It was already dark, so how my parents let me out of the house is still a mystery.  Bundled to the max, we set out on our country roads, and a couple of miles later, we made our dramatic (unintended) entrance at the club.  We screeched when we heard that snow plow behind and almost on top of us and dove into a snow-filled ditch.  Crazy.  We laughed the rest of the way to the club.  Memory tells me a kind heart drove us home.  The wonder of walking!

This has been a slow month for me, meaning not many walks and no hikes.  (Lots of gardening work, tho, and drives to see Everly Rose in Sacramento.)  Jimmy is one-month post-op on his total knee replacement.  He's walking well, and in two weeks, we're anticipating his doc will release him ... to walk wherever and whenever.  Based on this post, it's obvious to me I'm missing this. 😊 So is he.  Woot-woot!  We have lots more miles to put on our feet!  Yep, for us, walking is a joy!


  1. You've captured my feelings so well in this post.
    I think I miss the spiritual aspect and the ability to free my mind that comes with walking than the actual physical part of it.

    1. Thank you, Karen. Maybe someday we can go for a "walk 'n roll."

  2. This was wonderful, Nickie, spoken so well. Made me want to get up from this desk and go walking! I know the feelings, but don't follow through nearly as often as I did before we started all this crazy building and moving stuff. We will definitely go walking when you visit!

  3. Hi Nickie, this is great! I loved your blog and the great pictures. I had no idea you are a writer. Have you gone to Sierra Writers? It's at the Madelyn Helling Library this Wednesday night at 6:30. Great to connect.

  4. Anonymous1:21 PM

    Your wonderful meditation on walking is inspiring me to get up off the couch, stop emailing, and get my 5 miles in for the day, even if that only involves doing 50 laps inside at the health club since skies are looking a bit too threatening to walk the local trail. Linda


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