Within Walking Distance

I like to walk 10,000 steps a day. 

I used to go by time. Then I went by distance. Running or walking or both, I now go by steps. I’ve found that counting my steps makes me park my car further away from entrances; it makes me go to the grocery store and walk the aisles instead of one-clicking. It makes me walk to the little Italian joint down the street for take out. It makes me aware of my movement all day long versus just during a work out. And sometimes, I just want be somewhere on foot, to stop and look around. Or slow down and look around. When I do, I notice things, like this feather that literally fell from a cardinal above me flying through the sky. Talk about signs.

I often take notice of other people walking when I’m out. Here’s what I see…

  • The majority of people I walk past are almost always looking down. AirPods in, world shut out, watching their feet. This is me sometimes too. 
  • If with a walking companion, they’re in animated conversation, often smiling. I really love to see that. 
  • Many are texting or scrolling on their phones while walking. I worry they will trip or cause someone on a bike to wreck. They are definitely not seeing feathers fall from the sky or the majesty of the trees or squirrels collecting acorns. But whatever is on their phone must be important. Who am I to judge? 
  • Almost never do I see anyone sitting on park benches without their phones. Even when they are with someone else. This makes me sad. 
  • Parents with toddlers are truly sweet. They are watching and guiding and smiling. 
  • Older people stroll. No phones. No AirPods. They make eye contact. They say hello. They smile. 

I thought Covid helped us a little, to stop or slow down and take some serious inventory of how lucky we are to be alive, to live where we do, to be able to go outside and walk on paths lined with live oaks and magnolia trees and flowering shrubs that line creeks. I was hoping Covid would force us to determine what was really important. But I don’t know that it did. Back to normal, we are. Back on the wheel of disconnection. I am worried about us. But I guess I can only worry about me. And with every step I take, I feel like get a little closer to clean, undeniable, every moment living truth. It’s within walking distance, I can just feel it.

I write this after having gone on a long walk, having found this feather, and then getting caught in a rain shower. I thought about running home so I wouldn’t get drenched, but then I realized, how often do I get to walk through cooling rain? How often do I get to stroll slowly with no goal to meet or distance to achieve or time to beat? Or calories to burn? Or boxes to check? How often do I feel cool, sweet rain in the July Texas heat on my bare shoulders? 

Maybe not often, but definitely today.

So I walked home, slowly. And without even trying, I still met my goals, some of which I didn’t even know I had. 🪶

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