Posts Tagged ‘walk’

It was a beautiful day for a walk on my favorite trail, with my beast. A little podalic (things pertaining to feet 😉 ) therapy!

I felt as though it had been forever since we had the freedom for this most favorite activity, and that my fuzzy brain cells were calling out for it.

For a change, we did not speed walk. Instead it was a leisurely wander through the trails, taking in all of the details of change that spring brings along the path. Even my beast seemed unbothered by the change in pace.

As I started to walk, I exhaled. The kind of exhale that says, I need to purge my mind of all that is within it, of all that is overloading it. To purge it, though, means to first acknowledge all that is being, mentally, held on to.

I had been preoccupied about my husbands job security, and how that affects everything about our family’s life. I had been thinking about what I want my professional future to look like. About our eldest daughter’s plans to move away in the fall. About my other daughter’s summer. Wondering if we were being intentional enough with our son to build a firm foundation for the teen years to come. If we were meeting the needs of our International students , and if their presence was coming between ourselves and our own kids. Wondering about the future, about homes, and money and travel, and where our future would take us.

I was allowing my insecurities, and lack of vision of the future to hinder my ability to enjoy the present.

I stopped, and sat on a bench to enjoy the river. I thought of how the rising river made it fit it’s banks so much better than it had a couple of weeks earlier. On the other hand, the rising river could also mean impending doom for people whose homes or businesses are near the river. The future of the rising river is unseen.

Then I thought of my Magnolia tree, that is ready to burst into full flower. It will not bloom, though, until those hard, ugly shells open up with the pressure of the petals to burst free. Those hard, boring, ugly shells have kept the beauty hidden and safe, while they grew and prepared to show themselves in spring. If I did not know what is unseen, I might pluck those ugly shells off of them. But, because I know of the beauty that is currently out of sight, I wait for the beauty within to open up.

Then I looked at my beast, who had just plopped herself down on a bunch of dandelions. She has no insecurities in this world. She looks to me, as her co-master, and trusts that, although her bowl might get empty, it will be refilled again. She is not worried about much of anything (other than an intruder on the property, like a cat, or squirrel, or stray leaf blowing in the wind), because she trusts that as long as her masters are near, her needs will be met, because her masters care for her.

I realized that true beauty and true security do not come from what we know, or from what we can see. I remembered the words of 2 Corinthians 4:18, “so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

My brain cells are still a bit fuzzy, and I am still concerned about some of the aspects of life that endanger my understanding of security, but, I know that what is unseen might just be the most beautiful thing to come, and that I can be confident of how much my master cares for me, and this gives me fresh air to inhale.


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A good old walk will clear any befuddled brain, and that is what I did when the rain halted, and the sun came out to fill us with it’s energy giving Vitamin D.

I was feeling good, and my beastie at my side was smiling (if you could see her face when we are out for a walk, or, for that matter when she hears the word WALK, you too would agree that she is smiling … but, I digress). The sky was actually a beautiful bright blue, a nice change from the shades of gray that we normally face here on the Wet Coast during monsoon season West Coast during winter.

I knew my brain was befuddled, because I kept making errors in my responses to people, as we walked. As one couple passed and said something complimentary about my beastie (which caused swelling of her head to the point that I had to grease her head just to get her back in the van … but, I digress), to which I replied, “oh, she thinks she is a laptop.” A laptop? Seriously? I had meant a LAP DOG, but that is not what came out of my mouth. Unfortunately, I did not realize my error of words until they were too far gone in the other direction for me to correct myself. I wonder how far they had gone before they realized what I had said? I wonder if they called emergency services to report a weirdo on the trail?

The walk was full of people with smiles on their faces, drinking in the sun and warm breezes. Most were shouting out happy greetings, and all commenting on the beauty of the day. This is a West Coast survival technique. It could have been raining for a month straight, but as soon as the sun comes out, so do all the people, smiling and declaring how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place, and that we do not have to deal with snow. I believe there is a psychological diagnosis here, waiting to happen (I’m betting that there are more prescriptions filled in the lower mainland for Prozac than the rest of snowy Canada combined! Again, I digress).

So, as I am passing happy person, after happy person, and to one I initiate a greeting, “good morning.” And in those two words, I have let it be known that I have, indeed, lost it. It is four in the afternoon! Sure one could make a mistake at one o’clock with saying good morning, but no, I did so a good four hours into the afternoon. What was worse was that I felt I needed to correct myself, but my verbal language skills were so lacking that I just sounded like I was speaking another language. I am sure the poor person kept walking, faster than before our chance encounter, figuring that I was on drugs! I began to question whether or not I might have had a stroke … but, alas unintelligible speech was my only symptom.

Sigh … this is why we frail human beings need to own a beast. They cannot understand more than three words (walk, eat, treat) in English, and they love us … in spite of our befuddled brains.

Maybe next time I will just let the beastie do the talking.

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My first thoughts when I awoke this morning were I don’t know if I can walk to the bathroom, and I need coffee. The two thoughts go together too.

Yesterday, for the first time in over a month, I walked my favorite trail … all of it. It took over two hours, and it was great (it was great to be done, maybe not so great while doing it 😉 ). The weather was hot and humid, the trail was full of walkers and bikers, and we did it … my beast and I.

The poor beast was panting hard on the second half of our walk. Just as her tongue was dripping from her hard panting, I was sweating like a stuffed pig on a spit (was a pretty pair we must have been).

On our first half we did take a few breaks, so that the beast wouldn’t collapse on me (of course there was no danger of me collapsing … ). We would walk down to the rivers edge (which was much farther out than a month ago. Heck it was much farther out than I had ever seen it) so that she could cool off in the water, and get a drink at the same time.

There were many people standing on the rivers edge, fishing. It was a day to be out, a day for people to enjoy what might be a last day of Indian summer. A day to enjoy the beauty and wonder of nature … the sun, the fresh air, the leaf laden trees, and all of the other beauties outside.

As we turned started our second half, we were confronted by the sign to the right … that did not make for a confident walk back! Seriously, I did not need that! I already have paranoid thoughts whenever I am walking in the wilderness (like down my street) about being chased by a bear … I did not need confirmation that they were actually in the same area that I was in! What made it worse was that, shortly after seeing that bright and foreboding sign, I saw a tail on the pathway (and I am sure that it was not there when I passed that way just moments before). A squirrel’s tail … without the squirrel! I was now in a desperate state. So, I did what any well-adjusted, mature, woman in my right mind would do … I texted a picture of the sign to hubby, so that he would know how I died. And his response … was about a half hour later! I could have been bear poop by the time he responded! So much for sensitive, hubby!

Alas, the beast and I did survive the potential of a bear attack 🙂 .

But then, just as I was feeling as though we were safe from calamity, my beast started making all of the signs of needed to poo. And I, of course, was ready! As she squatted, I untied the poo bag from her harness (I know making her wear her poo bags is the equivalent of me wearing toilet paper around my neck, out in public … but, she is a very self confident dog). And when I started to put the bag over my hand … there was a hole in it … at the end (where my middle fingers would be … yuck). Alas, I was like a girl scout, and was prepared for anything! I had two bags! So, I doubled up, scooped up, tied up and we continued on.

We had a very uneventful second half of our walk (minus the anxiety-provoking sign and hole in the poo bag incidents). I am not sure which of us started to sprint-walk once the van was in site, but I know that both the beast and I were overwhelmingly thrilled to see it. The beast settled into the back seat, and did not move again until we got back home.

And we both slept well that night … with our minds full of the beautiful visions of our walk, and the sense of accomplishment of doing something that allowed us to exercise and enjoy the beauty of creation.

And my aching body … it pales in contrast with how wonderfully my soul feels.

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I’m an Addict!

I never thought it was possible, but I have become addicted to walking my favorite trail!

Not that anyone who has walked my favorite trail would blame me, because it is a spectacular trail. But the part about … me … addicted … to walking … that is what is hard to believe.

Now, my beast … she has always been addicted to walking! When she doesn’t go for a walk, she looks depressed, and gives us guilt-laden looks that no human can duplicate! And when she does go for a walk, she is the picture of contentment!

Life has become simply too busy this week to walk my trail … the trail I have been walking at least three times a week … for months! It has now been six days since I last walked it, and there is no available time in the foreseeable three days! And I think I am gonna lose it!

Tonight hubby and I were supposed to be removing sod on a piece of land that we planned to build our brick patio (hubby got an amazing deal on landscape bricks, from a neighbor … weeks … months … hum, years ago. So, we decided that indeed we could do this task … ourselves. And the time was now. But, I digress). But, the sod remover was very heavy, and we live on top of a hill, so getting it to the upper backyard … not so easy peasie. Then the sod remover was not too easy to figure out how to get it to actually cut the sod.

All that to say, words were said, (under our breath), looks were exchanged, frustrations were elevated, declarations of wanting to sell this massive property (in exchange for a brand new, comes with a property management company, condo) by me were made, tears burned in my eyes … and a quiet evening was had by all! And really, all because I haven’t (WE haven’t) been going for regular walks.

All I really had wanted to do was walk my favorite trail … (and it probably would have been better for all around me!).

This walk on the trail has become my leavening agent … like yeast or baking powder. If I mix it into my week in a well-proportioned way, the rest of my week rises and falls in balance. If, on the other hand, I do not take the time to add the leavening power of my walks to my week, the week ends up with the qualities of a hockey puck … hard, flat, and dangerous.

Truly, it could be said that I have turned a corner in my philosophy of life and living. For me, on this voyage of attaining better health, better living is finally becoming part of my daily fiber. Now, I miss my walks, like I once would have missed chocolate (oh, chocolate, I remember you. Dark, creamy, mouth-watering, satisfying, chocolate … chocolate bars, chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, and oh, my personal favorite, homemade chocolate sauce …  I  a m  s o  w e a k  …, and, I digress … again).

Walking now feels, not just good, but right. And that is a core change in how I think. I now recognize that going for those walks is not so much about how burning all those calories enables me to then eat more (a girl has to have her ‘rewards’ 🙂 ), but that going for those walks makes me feel better, think better, choose better, LIVE better (and squeeze into some of those clothes that have been gather dust in my closet for years).

So, today, I think something else is just gonna have to go. Now, what could go? Dusting, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms … hum, if I don’t do those three things, I would have enough time to walk! AND, I have three kids … so if they each ‘get’ to do one of those jobs, I can walk, AND come home to a clean house! And they get a more mentally stable mother (they have no idea just how this could benefit them).

Seriously, just thinking about walking makes my thinking so much more clear!

Now, where are those walking shoes? And my beast? And yes, even my hubby (who I am talking to, and is talking to me again … thanks to a couple of great guys who came over to the rescue of our sod, our marriage, and our sanity).

Time for a walk … it does a body, mind and soul good!

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A beautiful, sunny and warm Saturday … life just couldn’t get much better! Except maybe, if it included a long walk on my favorite trail …

So, before 9am, while fully enjoying my morning brew, I did a life-on the edge thing … I attempted to engage hubby in morning conversation (I am a morning person … Hubby … not so much). And, it went something like this …

“It’s a great day for a walk.”

“Um, hum.” (still staring at laptop screen) “When do you want to go?”

“Well, I’ll give you two options, and you choose the one that works best for you. We could go, say in an hour (I was pretty certain this would not be his choice … but it would have been mine). Or, if we went at four, we could do the two hour walk, and you would only miss the first hour of the game (okay, I did make this suggestion hoping his love of hockey would triumph over his not being a morning person, and he would choose door number one. After all it was game two of the NHL finals! What self-respecting Canadian would CHOOSE to miss the first half of that game? And, I digress …).

“Well, I honestly don’t want to go in an hour, so 4:00 sounds good for me.”

… there just are no words …

So, I spent the morning working 😦  in my PJ’s (wondering what I was thinking when I said I’d be willing to work on a big project with another lady … ), and hubby spent the morning doing odd jobs (did I mention that the sun was shining, as though it was summer, while we were working?). As the afternoon was wearing on, I was seeing that hubby was not happy with his progress on his ‘to do’ list. This caused me to fear that our walk was in danger of cancellation. So, I kindly, gently, pleasantly reminded hubby that it was 2:00. Then I asked, “are you still in for a walk?” His response was affirmative … I was doubtful.

His disappointingly slow progress continued … as the minutes ticked by.

Until almost 4:00, when I was sure that my highlight of the day, was doomed. This time I sat hubby down, and assured him that I would not be offended if he chose to not go for a walk with me, but that I wasn’t so keen on waiting much longer to go. And he said, he just needed fifteen minutes more …

So we drove, with our beast, to hit the trail! We walked for about 38 minutes, then turned around to head back. Just after turning back, (definitely after the hockey game began), my hubby did the unspeakable …

He turned the game on …on his phone … so he could hear it!

I love our walks …

I love the peacefulness of them …

I love the escape they provide from noises …

I love the wonder they bring to my day …

And he was playing the game … loudly …

… there just are no words …

Wonder …. LOST!

As the volcano within me was building to a near-cataclysmic point, I decided to just be forthright and tell it like I saw it …

“Um, how about you walk ahead … way ahead.”

“Are you in pain?” Says ‘sensitive, new age hubby.’

“Only my ears … ”

Silence …

(PS: I made him aware that he would pay for his faux pas, publicly … debt now paid, hubby )

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The Walking Stripper

Hello, my name is Carole, and I am a stripper.

(now you say, ‘hello Carole’)

But, it is true. And the stage I strip on? It’s the pathway I walk. Now, don’t head to my local trail to see if it is true? (if you know what I look like, this will make you NEVER walk that trail again). I am a seasonal stripper … winter, spring and fall. And I am only a stripper under certain cool weather conditions (the monsoons of the Wet West Coast).

So, here is my repertoire …

I hate to be cold when I walk, and, as I’ve been aging I feel cold whenever I start a walk. So, I wear layers. There’s the under layer (the ‘unmentionables’), followed by a long sleeved breathable shirt, followed by a hoody, followed by a water-proof jacket, followed by a toque, followed by mitts or gloves. And that pretty much covers it … or me.

When I start walking I am cold. It doesn’t seem to matter what the temperature is, when I start out, I am cold. So, I am wearing all my duds, and am zippered up as high as the zipper will zip. And, I usually tuck my hands up, into the sleeves of my jacket.

After about 10-15 minutes, I am feeling my blood flowing! So my hands emerge from my sleeves, and my zipper get unzipped, but only a respectable amount … I don’t want to be thought of a some kind of loose, hussy, walking stripper.

Now, if it is raining I am limited to how much I can strip. After all the water-proof jacket is my only protection against the dreaded wet. But, if it is simply cool out, my whole attire has the possibility of being eliminated.

So the mitts get pocketed … as cold as my hands can be, they also warm up to toasty at a pretty quick speed. The toque gets pocketed at the same time … I do admit to rarely wearing the toque (as I am a ‘head sweater’), but thought it added to the story 🙂

After about 20-30 minutes of walking I am fully warmed up! My muscles have given up and started to work (without stiffness, pain, and crying out for mercy). It is now time to remove the jacket, and tie it firmly around my waist. Then the zipper on the hoody falls to that respectable place (just above my cleavage, well that’s what is was before I got old … now it’s more like the great divide … but I digress).

It doesn’t take long before I am over-heating again (this phase usually makes me think of mid-life hot flashes … and hope that a cure is discovered before they actually affect me). So, feeling less respectable, the hoody zipper gets lowered below ‘the girls’ (the ‘great divide’ is experiencing flooding with all this increase in body temperature).

By now, I am at the halfway point of my walk, and am sure I am leaving the sweat equivalent of a trail of breadcrumbs. So, as my beast is squatting to release her excess fluids, off goes the hoody! And, along with my water-proof jacket, it gets tied around my waste.

Now, despite all my stripping, I am a sweaty mess! And, I now look like a pack mule!

Definitely not what you think of when you hear the word stripper!

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Ya gotta play this song while reading this one … mood is so important!

No, seriously, play the video … it will put you into my brain … (and what an adventure that could be).

Everything was perfect! The sun was shining (a May miracle, after something like 26 days of rain in April), the temperature was just right, my beast was eager to go (she’s always eager to ‘go’), and not one bone or muscle in my body was turning on me. This was the day that I was going to conquer the Fort to Fort Trail … all of it … alone (despite the bear signs).

I smiled for the entire event (except when slow walking dog owners wanted to lollygag and let our dogs sniff and lick … they slowed me down), even at people who didn’t want to smile or exchange sunny pleasantries (seriously people, if the sun is shining in the Lower Mainland, we have something to smile about ).

There is something positively WRONG, with gray haired folks whose faces look like the prunes they ate for breakfast … wait! Maybe that is it … they forgot to eat their prunes! Anyway, there is no excuse for wearing your grumpy pants when you are old … heck, the way I feel at my semi-archaic age, if I can even get out of my bed, when my head is gray, I’ll be smiling. Wait, thanks to advances in hair color … I will never be gray … I love this reality! But I digress ….

So, it was a glorious day, and it was full of wonder (beyond my not having to call for an ambulance or a UHaul to carry my sorry butt home).When my walk began I simply marveled at the beauty of the sun, the sky, the beautiful houses along the Bedford Channel, the chirping birds, the rapidly blossoming trees and bushes.

Then at one point, a smile crossed my face, as I saw a trail of dandelions along the path, as a child might leave them as a reminder of which way to go when returning from a adventure … pure WONDER! Who has not, as a child, done that? Or watched, as your own child leaves such a trail? And it is not something that the child has to be taught to do, they just do it because it comes natural to their lovely little minds. It is beautiful, it is imagination, it is wonder … personified! Really it is amazing the delight I was taking in that trail of dandelions, considering how I seek their demise on my (moss covered) lawn.

Not long after that … another little wonder … a cute, fluffy, little brown bunny sitting on the side of the path … not for long though, as my beast noticed it too, and the only wonder going through her mind was which part to eat first! (at this point I was regretting that the girls and I had been teaching her tricks with … marshmallow … bunnies … she LOVES marshmallows, and the bunny ones were on sale, post Easter … now I felt the only trick she had really learned was that bunnies taste good). Again, I digress!

There were other moments of wonder too. The birds singing … I think they were the ones from Cinderella, definitely not the ones from Shrek, although, if I were to sing TO them … (this, my singing, could be a future blog entry) I also saw one robin, so heavy with the weight of her babies, she could barely fly over me.

Spring and wonder … they just go together!

And all of these beauties, all of the ‘awe’ in God’s creation ushered me through the trails, as I sweat, heart-racing, lungs pumping to my goal. After two hours, and (according to my pedometer ‘app’) about 7km, I had done it! I conquered the Fort to Fort, all alone.

Well alone, minus the beast, the nice people along the way (and the grumpy ones), the bunny, the birds, the dandelions … okay, not so alone.

I did my Rocky Balboa dance (thus the music I forced you to play in the beginning … you could … play it again, Sam). I grinned even bigger than before. And I REALLY needed a shower!

So, creation full of wonder, next stop, the Grouse Grind … and, again, my prayer will be … ‘please no bears’.

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