Saturday, August 25, 2007

NPR - Walking

Thiswas the week I resorted to walking again. I had to put my VW Vanagon Syncro (4WD) into the shop for its annual routine and preventive maintenance, meaning a tuneup, alignment, brakes, and some small stuff. They promised it the next day but ended up needing 3+ days, partly to find and get parts. You see, while most parts for it are still available they're no longer normally stocked parts. So, through the shop's on-line international inventory of dealers, the factory in Germany and third party manufacturers, parts are there, it's just where and getting them here is the problem.

Anyway, while they were doing that, I resorted to walking for everything I need. It turned out that the closest shopping center on the highway by my place through the town where I live is 3 miles away and the town 4-plus miles away, one way. Fortunately it's all on tree-lined rural roads, most with walking and bike lanes. There also is a paved walking and bike lane under the powerline from this side of the Narrows Strait (above photo) to town, but being under the right-of-way, it's open. And with the nice cooler weather of the Northwest summer, it's enjoyable to simply walk along the rode.

And that's what I forget, simply walking. Rebecca Solnit has written a view of the history of walking in "Wanderlust, A History of Walking". I'm still reading it - ok, it's been out since 2000 and I bought it 2-plus years ago. But really walking is what got us through most of human history, and as Little Feat sang, "Feet, Don't fail me now." And so I walked everywhere with my satchel. This limited to what I could carry, but I had food and things, and knew the van would be back in service Saturday morning.

What I realized walking was what I missed hiking. Between my early and late 40's when I wasn't so involved in and with work, I used to hike at least two weekends a month. But slowly to and past 50 I got involved in management, additional stuff in life, and other things, and then simply getting older. Hiking dissapated into short day hikes into picnics. I just forgot what it's like to simply walk, putting one foot in front of the other and your head in the present.

Anyway, at the end of the week I had walked well over 20 miles, sometimes just for the newspapers and a mocha. And while my legs muscles hurt, I plan to do it at least one or two days a week. The pace of being alive is different when walking. You see the neighborhood, feel the weather, and become in the present. Ok, exageration, but not far from the truth either. As the quote - modified from cars to people - in the movie Cars goes, "People didn't drive to make time, they drove to enjoy time."

With walking it's the same, to simple enjoy time.

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