I am grateful for all the walking I have done in my life, from the moment I stood up, unsupported, and took that first step 52 years ago, to the walking I did today, on the rainy streets of Houston, the sound of constant thunder echoing in my ears, and the stunning sight of a long, lengthy bolt of lightning striking the ground, some five miles from my gaze.
Walking is never boring. I've done it all my life. I've walked and/or took the bus everywhere I went; sometimes just a few blocks, sometimes a few miles.
1. I am grateful for all the times in my life that I walked, a mile or more to the market, then carried a full grocery bag in each arm, or by hand, for the same distance home; once a week, or more. I am even more grateful for the 4-wheeled shopping cart that now makes such shopping trips so much easier and productive, purchasing-wise.
(Series begins here = Daily Gratitude Writing Challenge Summer 2013 Preview)
Writer Tim Holt once encouraged readers, in a 2006 essay for SFGate, to understand that everyone walks somewhere at some point in their day. It's just that folks who don't own a car do a heck of a lot more of it, as do people who walk as part of their exercise regimen. One way to think about it is: hey, if it was good enough for Wordsworth, Shaw, and Carlyle, then it's good enough for me!
One of the major benefits of walking is that it stimulates thinking, and, as the above-mentioned writers amply demonstrate, thinking can lead to great things; perhaps even a career as a published writer!
Yes! Story and blog ideas can come while walking somewhere. Stories, poetry, humor and more have come from my life of walking.
2. I am grateful for all the walks and hikes that I have taken which have inspired me to write blog posts over the years.
3. I am grateful for the freedom to have time to read that walking has afforded me in my life.
You will laugh and think I'm nuts, but there is something that I've done since I was 10 years old and will continue to do until the day I die; Read a book while walking somewhere. I have often read from novels, non-fiction and magazines where ever I go, not necessarily the whole trip, but I do read.
In the late 90’s, when I was still working as a bookstore manager, someone told me he followed me for 3 miles, one day, watching me read a book, as I walked along, crossing intersections without seemingly being aware of anything around me but magically avoiding people and traffic and hitting all the stop lights as they turned green.
I told him (pointing at my glasses) it was easy when you have 4 eyes.
4. I am grateful that I had the stamina, in 2001, when I worked for Target, to spend a month walking 8 miles each way to and from work because I could not afford a bus pass. The one-way trips would take 3 hours and at night, on the return, I'd listen to talk radio and observe the passing scene around me (Cautiously, in some stretches, I'll admit!)
5. I am grateful that even when reading as I walk I am aware of all that is around me; some sight, or sound, catches my attention and I look up to check it out.
When I don't have reading material with me I can truly get into the sights and sounds of the world I pass.
6. I am grateful for the opportunity to have taken several, honest to God, hikes, back in California, and look forward to taking some here in Houston and Harris County.
7. I am grateful for the mental and physical benefits of walking.
8. I am grateful to Tim Holt for his old essay on the benefits of walking.
9. I am grateful for the inspiration that piece gave me to write my own essay on walking when I discovered it a year and a half after he wrote it.
10. I am grateful for the response to an e-mail I sent the author, back then, in which I received the following cool thank you:
Thanks for your kind note and complementary riff on my article.
I suspect we're about the same age, and you brought back memories, going back about 50 years, when my mom and I did a regular one-mile roundtrip walk back and forth to the local grocery store, using one of those handy little two-wheeled carts.
Isn't it amazing how crazy and off-course American society has gotten since then?
It is amazing indeed.