That’s more like it. 90 minutes is my preferred length of walk, and today, out in the bright sunshine, I was able to go from one end of Mill Creek to the other within that time frame. I did manage a few longer walks last week, but not consistently. In the 15 years of walking journals I’ve accumulated, December is always a difficult month. I’m usually still getting accustomed to my ‘snow legs’, and then there is all the usual Christmas activities that make walking a challenge. Like being fatter, for one. Happily I get almost two weeks off at Christmas so I’ll try to put a dent in all those shortbread calories.
It’s not just the fitness. When I started walking, it was definitely for the exercise. Now, many years later, it’s a combination of factors that keep me on the trails. I’ve grown very attached to the landscape. Even though I branch out on occasion to other trails in the city, in particular Whitemud Ravine, my primary stomping grounds are Mill Creek, and the various paths leading from Laurier to the Muttart. In every season, these places offer visual and auditory magnificence, and now, memories of these things. I miss the trees and creeks if I don’t visit them regularly. Also, my mind is much calmer than it used to be, and I think this has everything to do with the meditative aspects of being in the woods for some portion of every day. In winter, when walks are shorter, darker, and sometimes non-existent, my brain gets mushy and unfocused, like overdone rotini. Even worse, it will from time to time succumb to an all out funk if not taken out for regular walks. I think it’s safe to say my brain is like a Labrador Retriever. Or maybe a Weimaraner, since they’re grey.
Back to the trails…it was quite frosty today, but many people found a reason to be in the woods. Mostly dog reasons, although there were a few solitary walkers and one or two runners. I’ve noticed that the little dogs have now been replaced by the medium to large-size dogs. OK with me, they’re usually friendlier and will offer themselves up to a fondle quite readily. The snow was very sparkly in the sun, as was the grass poking through. Unfortunately, this is impossible to capture on film, but it was all rather dazzling. A great walk, in other words.
And now, back to the shortbread.