Walking works wonders, alliteration aside

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.

A soon to vanish view on the way home, here going through the Goshen Industrial Park.

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.

8th Street, a good example of how the Maple City gets its nickname.
We encountered a lot of walkers, runners, bicyclists and three kayakers along the Millrace.
Dusk was settling in as we still had a mile and a half to go on our way home.

Monday: Fetching scenes at Fidlers Pond

Gulls, Canada geese, and ducks made the most of the cool waters.

Tuesday: Perusing the news before heading to Ox Bow County Park

From the BBC: One paragraph noted, “Ofcom, the UK telecom regulator said it will stop BT from closing down 5,000 phone boxes in areas with poor mobile signals or high accident rates, if they are still needed by local communities.”
The Fairy Garden in Oxbow County Park needs a godmother to tidy things up.
One of our favorite areas to walk, as we circumnavigate the 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.

Still, a nice scene from a walk at Greencroft earlier in the week.
A Greencroft Goshen resident took this drone photo last week, showing some of the eastern part of campus, a slice (left) of the Whispering Pines Court development, and the three-story Juniper Place independent-living building. The rest of the 180-acre campus, including independent-living, assisted living, healthcare, community center and corporate offices, spread out westward.

Friday: Errands, a family visit, rain, a bit of snow, no walk

If I squint a bit, this scene appears as snow-capped mountains on the Elkhart prairie.

Friday: Perfect day to be out, if you’re a woolly sheep

First snow. Trees cycling to dormancy. Time for a coffee refill. Grateful for the day.

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.

On the Pumpkinvine Trail.

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!

-John

4 thoughts on “Walking works wonders, alliteration aside

    1. Can’t put the case of lack of care up to Covid, I don’t think. Is that a double negative? In any case, there’s always some matter to be addressed. Glad for your comments.

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  1. John Muir is quoted as saying, “in every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” Isn’t that the truth. So impressive the total miles you have walked. Walk on!
    Kaye

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