Walking Wild

Karen Hiking on Mount Baker

“But the beauty is in the walking – we are betrayed by destinations.”
Gwyn Thomas

The thing I love about walking is, – well everything.  First of all though, I love that you can’t do it wrong. No one is going to say when you are out for a stroll, “Um, excuse me, but I think you’re pronating…”   There are no penalties for stopping, and everything that comes to your eye is free.

Whether you live in the city, or country or are part of larger suburbia, your life is probably busy. The pressure to do what you should do and leave out what you might like to do is overwhelming, and it seems like most of the recommended exercise regimes or work-outs end up becoming just that. But walking is different. I could give you a zillion reasons that it’s good for you, but I think the best reason to walk is that it is none of those things. If walking is anything it is a pleasure, something aside, an unnecessary diversion; an escape that wakens body and mind and conversely brings peace and rest. As an escape, its specialty is that it comes at a pace we can assimilate. It stimulates without exhaustion. It can be accompanied or alone. You can stop on a walk and enjoy the grass beneath your feet in summer, or the strangely awesome grey-black skeletons of trees in winter. You can feel the cold on your cheeks, the sun on your back and the rain on your head if you like, or you can bundle yourself against all of those things and enjoy being outside from the cocooned vantage of exactly the right outerwear. You can think about nothing or something or listen to music. You can smell the changes in the air from one block to the next, one season to the next, one moment to the next. You don’t have to keep a log, report back, justify, or explain a walk.

There are a lot of studies if you care to look them up that suggest that we are made to move around – a lot. It is in our DNA to cover territory. To range across some area is to find yourself grounded in a world that is real and supports you. That in and of itself is a grace that is profound and amazing. It is as basic to being human as drawing the next breath.

So if you find that you are feeling sluggish, or sad, or stressed or distressed or just need a change, – if you are able and willing and inclined toward joy, take a walk. Everything’s waiting for you.

Top-10-health-benefits-of-walking-everyday

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4 Responses to Walking Wild

  1. Linda Bonvie says:

    Love this Karen!
    And this is part of what makes having a dog so special. You must walk — walk in the rain and the snow and the cold and the early morning.
    Really enjoyed this piece.

    • Karen Shepard says:

      Thanks Linda!
      I agree. Dogs are the perfect example of “Just glad to go!” The only thing more fun than one dog on a hike – is two! Something about that enthusiasm is contagious. We call it “irrational exuberance,” but it’s probably more like vicarious joy. Either way, what a gift!

  2. Sebrina Zerkus Smith says:

    I’m a walker, too! Gotta get out there and get some fresh air and clear my head. Plus, having lupus, as I do, I feel better and have less pain when I exercise. Walking is good for what ails you. 🙂

    • Karen Shepard says:

      Yes. Its funny how that works. I have a lot physical challenges as well. Amazingly no matter how I feel I always feel better after a walk. Something about being in motion… You will have to come stroll with us if you are ever in Seattle!

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