More Walking Please

A beautiful North Saskatchewan River (and dog.)
A beautiful North Saskatchewan River (and dog.)

A little stir-crazy these days. The reasons are both acute, and ongoing: an unintentionally extended sabbatical, kitchen renovations (no place to make a soul-soothing pb&j), and a whole lot of anxiety about an upcoming trip to London to see Kate Bush, which SHOULD be exciting, but will also be exhausting, expensive, and very, very, brief. The cure? Walking. Have I been walking? Not much. A long walk on Monday, and a short walk this morning, with the dog.

Whitemud Creek on Monday - low, and slow
Whitemud Creek on the downlow

On Monday, I purposely set out on a long walk to distract myself from myself. It almost always works, and it worked that day too. Mostly. Walked up to the man-made wetland west of Whitemud Ravine, and then back down into the ravine for an hour of quiet, uneventful communion with nature. Walking gives me many things, some of which are practical, like fitness and weight management, and others…that are of a more enduring nature, like emotional balance and spiritual connection. Walking is my reset button. But I have to press the button. I have to walk, or no reset.

Duck-weed covered pond
Duck-weed covered pond

My life has been so wonky these last three years. Moving to another part of the city, which at the time was temporary but has now morphed into something permanent. A temporary permanence, if you will. And then severing myself from my day job. Those things had positive reverberations in my life, but also, ONE BIG NEGATIVE: I lost my routine, and I’ve failed to replace it with another. Yeah, I still walk, but not every day, and as I no longer have a commute, there is nothing forcing me to move my increasingly lethargic body. One other factor – an old, arthritic dog. I’m not blaming Maggie, but she was an exceptional walking buddy, and as good a reason as any to get out into the woods. Now, she’s fine with short walks, and would actually prefer very few of them, unless water is involved. We’ve had a bazillion wonderful hours together in the ravines, river valley, and trails of this city, and it’s OK if she wants to take it easy in her senior years. I, on the other hand, have no excuse, aged though I am…

It’s such a dumb quandary. Walking an hour a day would make all these uncertainties and anxieties in my life fade to the background. Physical exercise can’t fill my bank account, or make me forget that England increased it’s terrorism alert to ‘SEVERE’ the day after I booked my ticket, but with more walking I would be better able to handle shit. That’s what walking is…a shit manager. Maybe Kate Bush will inspire me to do better. Or maybe I’ll just rely on that old motivator – poverty, to get me up off my ass…

Oh, and as for today’s walk, we went to Terwillegar off-leash. Maggie had fun splashing about in the unusually clear North Saskatchewan River, and even allowed us to take her on a brief walk along one of the trails. It was beautiful.

Up close Maggie


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