Post 46/2021 Saturday 13 November . . . It was mostly a very fine week for walks hither and yon, all within 10 miles of home. Mostly, I say, until the latter part of the week set in with rain, the first snow flurries, and we had errands to run by car. Today (Saturday), we’ll bundle up for a walk that will include a stop at the pharmacy, though I’m not sure whether we’ll include a stop at Starbucks. We’ll see.
We’re grateful for pedestrian-friendly communities. We’re grateful, too, for restaurants and cafes and other shops along the way that mesh neatly with longer walks. Boots off for the week past, we’re on!
Saturday: Whistling along the Winona Interurban Trail
Saturday (11-6) we walked to Goshen Family Restaurant for a late breakfast. The one-mile path runs from Goshen College south to Bethany Christian School and Waterford Elementary School. From home we add a bit more than a mile, one-way. Here we have less than a quarter-mile to go. Lovely path bordered by train tracks, gardens, and sound/wind/privacy fences and plantings.
Sunday: Sallying forth to an early dinner
We started out at 3pm for a walk downtown to the Goshen Brewing Company for an early dinner. We connected with the Millrace Canal Trail going from home though Goshen College and a short walk along 8th Street and another connector street with a bridge over the Millrace. Starting at the Goshen Dam and ending near the Farmers’ Market downtown, the trail is 2.75 miles long.
Monday: Fetching scenes at Fidlers Pond
Tuesday: Perusing the news before heading to Ox Bow County Park
Wednesday: Perambulating on the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail
Thursday: No walks on a rainy day
We stayed at home, attended a presentation by Gene Yoder, former Greencroft CEO, on the history of Greencroft Goshen, took some things to The Depot charity shop (and bought some light-sensor candles, a few which we might have donated three years ago), and enjoyed homemade chili that Marty made.
Friday: Errands, a family visit, rain, a bit of snow, no walk
Friday: Perfect day to be out, if you’re a woolly sheep
A takeaway on walking
In future blogs I’ll comment briefly on books on walking from our library. I may have mentioned most of them in previous blogs over the years, but I want to take a fresh look at these volumes, old and newer, promising fresh adventures for mind and spirit.
Here’s the first, Walking Away, by Simon Armitage, (Faber and Faber, 2015). I faintly remember the pleasure of reading this book by Armitage, poet and professor of poetry. It’s an account of his penniless 265-mile trek along the north coast of the Southwest Coast Path from Minehead in Somerset to Land’s End in Cornwall.
Three years earlier he had done the same on the Pennine Way and wrote about it in Walking Home. In the Introduction to Walking Away, he said of Walking Home: “As well as a challenge to my physical resolve and mental stamina, I conceived the walk as a test of my poetic reputation, giving readings every night in village halls, pubs, churches and private house in return for board and lodging.”
It worked. “In fact in some ways I felt as if I was testing the reputation of poetry itself, wondering if an audience would turn out to hear spoken verse on a wet Wednesday in Wensleydale, and if there was a place in the contemporary world for a latter-day troubadour living on his wits and hawking his stanzas and stories from one remote community to the next. After the final audit, I declared a small financial surplus and an enormous emotional profit, though the demands of that journey on the body and the brain made me vow never to commit to such an undertaking again, because for all the beauty of the trail and the exhilaration of the experience, the Pennine Way is a brutal, punishing slog from start to finish.”
Nevertheless, three years later Armitage convincing himself “that my legs still had one last long-distance walk left in them, and started to think that Walking Home had only been half the project.” I’m eager to follow Armitage’s account from the comfort of lamp and natural light. I’ll be on the lookout for notes to share.
‘How do you find your walks?’
That’s what a reader asked last week. Thanks for the question, Sally and Ron.
In brief: maps, brochures, news articles, books, word of mouth, walking groups, or as Marty said, “Hit and miss.” We’ve discovered, especially in the UK and Canada, that there’s a path there even if you don’t quite see it. Sometimes your feet tell you you’re on a path through a field or leaf- or snow-covered forest.
We’re careful not to wander at will in a forest, after enough experiences of needing to find our way out when we strayed from the blazed or unblazed path. Oh, the fireside stories we could tell. We remind ourselves of them sometimes. Some people prefer to do solitary walks; ours our mostly together, so precious. We find not just good walks, but blessed togetherness.
We started doing planned walks in 1989 after my doctor told me in no uncertain terms (he was an excellent, astute physician even if his bedside manner went wanting) to lose weight to lower cholesterol and Marty needed to stop running after a high-impact aerobics knee injury.
Of casual interest, we keep track of the distance we walk and, now at the start of our 33rd year of walking, we’re well into the equivalent distance of the second time around the world. For this year, as of November 12, we’ve covered 1,273 miles on foot.
Taking a few steps matters more than distance. Even a short walk serves body, mind and spirit well. Boots on later today. Be well!