Walking in 2012

I don’t take walks by myself anymore. At least, I didn’t for a long time, but maybe that is changing. Yesterday I asked Mr. Glad if he would like to go for a walk, and he quickly answered, “No, you should go for a walk; I am going for a bike ride; and it’s going to be dark soon.”

“But I don’t want to take a walk by myself,” I whined.

“Just do it,” he said simply and authoritatively. “You need to get outside.” I had been away from the house a lot over the last few days — in church, in our church’s new hall setting up our new bookstore, in church again…but out of doors very little.

Oh, why not? I thought, why not just follow my husband’s advice, go for a walk by myself, and start two new trends in 2012? Some time in the last few years I got impatient with walking alone. I don’t like exercise for its own sake; I’m lazy in that department. Walking is time-consuming, and if I walk on the treadmill at the gym I can get a better workout while distracting myself with interesting articles in magazines at the same time.

My memory was not serving me well, I discovered as I set off down the street and on to the bike-and-walking path two blocks away. Walking all by one’s lonesome in the outdoors can serve many purposes, if Getting Things Done is the aim.

I didn’t have my camera last evening, which caused me to remember right away why I don’t burn so many calories when no one is along to keep me moving: I want to stop all too often to examine a flower or new redwood needles, and often to delve more deeply and longer by looking through a lens in order to get another slant.

On this, my first solitary walk of a new year, I particularly noticed the thickly blooming berries on the shrubs that the city must have planted long ago. Every Christmas for 20 years various ones of our family have come here to snip a few branches for decorating the house. Even last week — oops, the week before that — Pearl had taken her children on a walk and returned with a bag full of cedar and redwood branches, and many sprays of berries.

Because I didn’t have my camera, I walked very fast and came home in about 15 minutes, grabbed my pruners and a bag and walked right back to the path. I carried home several branches, and re-supplied some of my tabletop displays with fresh berries to get us through Theophany.

Today my husband and I took a walk together, into the center of town to Starbucks and back — one of our new jaunts together since he retired recently. Later I went by myself once more, down to the path along the creek to snap some photos of those berries that are so striking in the winter.

As I set off I realized that what had seemed like a good use of my time, avoiding these more leisurely walks, has been a missed opportunity. When walking “alone” one is never alone, because God is everywhere present. There are the trees and bushes, the sky and the birds and sometimes friendly strangers walking often beautiful dogs.

The “distractions” of nature and real people are not nearly as diverting from prayer as what I do at the gym, and my strenuous indoor workout turns out to be no substitute for the much more soul-profiting outing that I can otherwise get — and I don’t even have to drive the car.

Whether I’m happy or sad, it’s almost impossible to go walking without remembering my Divine Companion at least part of the time, talking to and listening to Him. I’m thanking God for giving me the idea for one more way to avoid the winter blues.

16 thoughts on “Walking in 2012

  1. You speak the truth, Gretchen Joanna!
    So often I do not want to give up the time it takes to walk, but there are so many perks to being outside. I'm pushing myself out the door whenever it's possible.


  2. Good for you!

    LIGHT is the main thing for us who suffer from the winter blues. They say the more we are exposed to bright light, the better we feel. So getting outdoors is important in that respect, too.

    Rooms with southern exposures also help a lot. We bask all day in our sun room, and as long as we do that, winter doesn't bother us, at least not nearly as much as it used to.


  3. Yes! On those walks you describe one is so aware of the Divine Companion. I am thankful I walk to work most mornings. “Dobaring” is an interesting word verification for this post.


  4. CATONIASTA BERRIES…(sp?) Maybe soon the migrating birds, like the Cedar Waxwings, will be there when you go for your walk eating all the berries. They get a little silly on them.


  5. How about cotoneaster — that's what I found when I googled your version, J. A man whom I met on the path told me that some kind of bird — he described various birds but didn't know their names — would soon be eating those berries. When I was a child we had a pyracantha the berries of which made many a bird drunk so that they would fly dizzily into the windows.


  6. I do the very same thing…whine because no one will accompany me on whatever outing…well, i have a dog, thankfully and she's always up for a walk! I like going for bike rides, too, but wish the girls would join me…it's cold enough now that the wind in your face as you ride is TOO much. So I will just have to be satisfied with the Divine Companion! (I like how you put that)


  7. What a true and beautiful post, GJ! “Soul-profiting” is accurate. Also soul-nourishing. Being outside in natural beauty always seems to fill up my reservoirs of need somehow. They are very large reservoirs. I love this about you — that you greatly appreciate God's beautiful creation and long to be in it. Good for you!


  8. Wishing you well on the solitary walks of 2012. I have been walking with my daughters in the woods, and I often long to do it alone, so it will be quieter, and I'll see more animals — but then when I do walk alone, it's not as much fun. Some people are never satisfied. 🙂

    I'm a little jealous of all the green I see in your pics. All is russet and gray here.


  9. Well said! I have learned to love both walking with my semi retired husband and walking with my dog and walking ALONE. The excercize is great, but the thoughts are even better…especially when we turn to our Companion and Friend to share with…I find the fresh air and the new thoughts are wonderful when it rains or gets grey in the winter…


  10. Yes! I have been walking alone (with God) for years and it is so soul-satisfying and refreshing to me that I can hardly bear to miss a day of walking. Even a short walk in deep snow and cold is well worth it. You have a lovely place to walk. Happy 2012!


  11. I walk almost every day with my dog, and I think it's made a big difference in my life, especially in the winter, when I'm fairly loathe to go outside. But there's so much winter beauty, and it's important to get a daily dose of light.

    Keep walking!



  12. I feel the same way about walking — like it's a waste of time and taking time away from things I could be doing. I need to reboot ;)!


  13. I wish I lived nearby to join you on a walk on occasion, but at least the one good thing about solitary walks is what you said about how it's basically impossible to go walking without remembering our Divine Companion.


  14. Walking is enjoyable. I appreciate my walks “alone” because it is so conducive to praying.

    By the way, I did answer your question about the china pattern as another comment. It is Edme by Wedgewood, a beautiful pattern.


  15. You have inspired me with this post. I spend too much time indoors and make far too many excuses. This year I will find more unbeaten paths to explore. Thank You,


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