In approximately two months I will be 67 years old. I have the body to prove it. Besides the normal wear and tear, I was diagnosed with diabetes 15 years old and I’ve suffered with significant intestinal issues most of my adult life. I rarely get sick but I do feel the aches and pains of aging. If my body could be sold, you could probably get it for 50% off at a scratch and dent sale. I lean towards passive activities like reading, listening to music, watching films, and being what some people call a “couch potato”. I was an active child who played sports and rode many miles on my bicycle but as I got older I grew more sedentary. Working in an office for over 30 years did not help. When I received my diabetes diagnoses I began to take my health more seriously. I watched my diet, lost a lot of weight, and tried to walk as much as I could. When I say walk, I do not mean hiking the Appalachian Trail. I mean walking around my office, the streets of downtown, and now a local park. My walks are not strenuous but I am out of my chair and moving.
I happened upon a small book by Henry David Thoreau called Walking. My idea of a walk and Thoreau’s idea of a walk are two different things.
“If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again, if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man, then you are ready for a walk“.
I am just a recently retired man with some time on his hands who wants to take a walk in the park every day in order to get some exercise, breathe some fresh air, loosen my stiff joints, and get my blood pumping.
Yesterday as I walked in the park I remembered times when I lived in a Trappist monastery as a young man. The monastery had 2,000 acres of fields, lakes, and woods. Hiking was recreation. I spent much of my free time, and monks had lots of free time, walking in the woods, around the lakes, and up and down the hills. I did have one scary experience with another monk when we got very lost. It was nearly dark when we found our way back to the monastery. We barely made it on time for evening Vespers. This reminds me of some favorite quotes….
“I have never been lost. I was, however, confused once for about two weeks“.
“All who wander are not lost“.
If it doesn’t rain, as it is supposed to do today, I will be back in the park, doing what Thoreau also calls “sauntering“.
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