06 February 2009

Take a Walk

Getting back into the swing of things after being sick for a week is easier said than done. I have gotten little accomplished beyond reading half of Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods and watching a few movies from Netflix. The house is a mess and the spare room is an explosion of baby stuff surrounding the extra bed we haven't had time to take to the Salvation Army. To add to the insanity, I have an article due, thank you notes to write, and Adam's grandparents are driving in for a one-day visit on Sunday.

But everything will get done, and I'm sure I'll even be able to squeeze in a bit more reading. Considering that taking a walk this week wasn't in the cards, reading A Walk in the Woods was a good substitute. My only complaint is that the sections talking about the role of the U.S. Forest Service and the vegetation on the Appalachain Trail can get a bit long winded, and I find I have to pull myself back in for a landing once my mind starts wandering. But the narrative is engaging and often hilarious, and I spent about three hours reading it last night.

I've become a big fan of walking since we got Penny two years ago and, especially, since I got pregnant. Right now, it's one of the only exercises I can do with minimal pain. When my friend Caroline was pregnant, she said her mom practically chanted a mantra of walking at her, insisting it's the best thing a pregnant lady can do, particularly near the end.

But walking city streets is nothing like hiking through the woods, and the trails here are nothing like the ones I'm used to in Upstate New York. I like the idea of reconnecting with nature and the simplicity of needing nothing but a decent pair of shoes and, maybe, a decent companion (man or little dog). Perhaps this is a bit off the wall, but walking just feels more grounded than other activities. It's one foot in front of the other on the actual ground -- a novel idea for a society where the average person walks approximately less than five miles a week and is usually encased in metal and rubber.

Personally, I have no desire to hike the entire Appalachain Trail, but I admire what Bryson and his companion did. And my plans include lots of walks and hikes and runs (can't wait to be able to run again!) with a little one in tow. Maybe I'll even be able to sneak a walk or two in this weekend. Hopefully.

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