Posts Tagged ‘walking’

Such a joy to get back into the park last week!  Off-pathing (yes, I made that up) was a quite wet and a bit muddy and, as you can see, there was some detritus on the regular path, but I reveled in the opportunity to once again spend time in nature…as well as to take more pictures .It’s an interesting time of year, as most of what surrounds me is still brown and dead, some determined leaves still gripping their trees or bushes as well as stunning dried plants.

But there is some green, both grass and ground cover, and a few small flowers in the ground cover.  Spring is in the air and, bit by bit, on the ground, in the air, and on the plants. No matter the time of year, take the opportunity to get out and see what’s nearby. It will refresh you and your soul immeasurably.  With the nice weather, at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere, it will be a walk in the park.

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For more Which Way photos, click here, a live link once Cee’s post is up and I link to it.  You’ll find plenty of lovely photos to take you whichever way you want to go.

Winter walking

Posted: November 13, 2014 in Nature, Poetry
Tags: , , , ,

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The Wabash Trace Nature Trail, running through southwest Iowa from Council Bluffs to Blanchard near the border with Missouri, is 63-mile route converted from a railroad right-of-way.  Although the trail is new to me, I’ve been familiar with the song by Johnny Cash since my father used to sing it around the house, evoking the glamor of train travel in the days before Amtrak.

 “The trail’s roots go back to the Wabash Railroad, which was one of the most important connections between the farmlands, factories and people of the American heartland and points east in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Indeed, the railroad is perhaps best known for the “Wabash Cannonball,” a passenger train that connected St. Louis to Detroit and was enshrined in a popular song from the early 1900s.”
TrailLink

My experience with the trail has been much more plebian and certainly slower.  While visiting our older daughter in Shenandoah, Iowa, one of the towns through which the Trace runs, I went there for my morning walk.  The wind was as chilly as that at home, although what surrounds the Trace is very different from that of my park in a Chicago suburb!  Here there was a cemetery, fields (both harvested and with corn still waiting on the stalk), windmills of the kind on my grandparents’ farm, not the enormous, sleek high-risers of today, and other rural surroundings.  My walk, however, was as calming to the soul and as good for the body, which is, after all, why I walk.

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“A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”
Thoreau

We’re on the cusp of spring. As lights bloom from windows darkened by night, spring has danced away again. The fickle wind tonight sides with winter, madly blowing back the cold. It’s a rearguard battle. For a time, winter will lie heavily on the land. But spring will trip lightly back again…and again…and again… until winter has been routed once more. The welling joy brought by warmer weather is now tamped down, yet it sneaks out gloriously at random moments. The sun teases, promising what it can’t or won’t yet deliver, yet the promise is one that will soon come true. And so I wait, mostly patiently.

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Today I take a walk around the small lake that lies near our housing development. Although it’s really a run-off lake, the wonderful park system in our Chicago suburb has made it a lovely place. Now it too waits patiently for spring, surrounded by dead and battened-down grass punctuated by brittle brown stalks of last year’s milkweed topped by mostly empty pods. Almost everything looks as though it would snap off easily. Trash is enmeshed everywhere, filling me with rage at those who thoughtlessly throw out what could so easily be thrown away.

Geese sit on the ice, kept warm by fat and feathers, I suppose.  Others waddle away, bottoms twitching pertly, as I walk by. Later when the goslings arrive, I may have to detour at times to avoid hissing, belligerent parents, but for now they’re content to move. I’ve learned to hiss right back, which works most of the time.  The ice at the edge of the pond is thin now with water visible in places. Not far out, though, it’s still winter white and firm-looking, though I wouldn’t test it with my weight. It holds the geese without a problem.

In the mud I see a large dog print, large enough to be a Hound-of-the-Baskervilles puppy. On the other side of the lake is an empty deck where often a big, fluffy-haired white dog barks out of boredom at people passing by. He’ll probably be sad to see winter leave, his fur a distinct disadvantage in summer’s heat. Still, that’s far away from today.  We haven’t even reached spring warmth yet.

I get only a short distance before my iPod stops working. I forgot to charge it after my last walk and now I leave the earbuds in to keep the wind out of my ears. My mind wanders, thinking about writing this post, then dancing on to other random thoughts. I have the path to myself, sans geese, and it is, as our older daughter once said when she was little, “a beautiful day.”

 

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On a day when by afternoon our lovely deck resembles the bottom half of a Foreman grill, it behooves me, after an 8 am foray to Whole Foods to score organic strawberries for $1.99 a pound, to walk while the temperature is still a “balmy” 80 F or so, with humidity even higher. Natural vitamin D, here I come!

I stride out on the black, heat-soaked, asphalt path that winds over a mile around the neighborhood lake. My Nano has Pink Martini crooning the tunes from “Splendor in the Grass”. If you haven’t experienced Pink Martini, do so immediately. You haven’t had fun until you’ve heard China Forbes sing “Now You’re Gone” and the response from NPR correspondent Ari Shapiro , “Now I’m Back”, sung tongue firmly in cheek.  (Have you ever tried to sing with your tongue in your cheek?  It’s not easy!!)   Here’s the story of the song and a great shot of the group: http://www.npr.org/2009/10/27/114167342/pink-martini-a-tale-of-two-songs. Here’s a live version of the song:

My first obstacle, other than the heat and humidity, is the gaggle of geese hanging out around the lake, producing prodigious amounts of goose poop in their own inimitable fashion. Not a fan of government subsidies, I’d gladly subsidize anyone discovering how to get geese to deposit their multitudinous offerings in some sort of cosmic litter box or teach them to compost without littering. I’m not holding my breath. (more…)

Back from the wilds of the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, we took a walk around the lake by our subdivision in Naperville.  There’s plenty of wildlife and lots of plants here, just at a slightly tamer level.  However, beauty still abounds and I hope you enjoy it with me. (more…)

Put on your workout clothes or just some comfortable clothes and stand up for some hints on how to lose weight or just get into better shape.  (more…)