There is music in the mockingbirds’ squawk and the squirrels’ chatter. It’s all drawn together by the thump, thump, thumping of a car going down the street with its bass vibrating. Two hooded youths walk towards me, greeting me with smiles as we go by each other. A woman pushes a stroller humming lullabies to her baby, happily cooing at the sky. Is there anything more magical than a walk outside?
There is a walking club where I work. For the price of a dollar a year, one can join and have an extra twenty minutes tacked onto the lunch hour. My work hours, home hours, and errands, have forced me from the gym, so I thought what the heck, maybe this will get me motivated. It has me addicted, and it’s not all about the obvious health benefits that are gained. The addiction is something that until recently I don’t think I fully understood.
Me time. What the heck is that? I used to think it was the time spent creating, writing, playing music, doing, controlling something, some aspect of ourselves. At this point it seems it’s just enjoying the surroundings with little to no expectations. I’m just walking and taking it all in. Some days I grab the iPod and put it on shuffle and then I smile at the random selection of songs that play, seemingly so right for the moment. I find myself stepping in time with the beat. Heaven help any passerby’s if “Footloose” plays. I might just break out singing and start dancing. That would really get those squirrels chattering.
It helps that I work in a small town and the building I work in is surrounded by lovely old homes. Some of the structures are Antebellum, some Victorian, and some just ooze welcome from the delights of their gardens. A little further off the beaten path, the Neuse River winds its undulating muddy tail. The water gurgles and the dragonflies brush the surface of the water, skimming at their reflections. By the time I walk back into the office I almost feel I’ve had a mini-vacation. The first day I walked, I lost track of time and missed the actual lunch portion of lunch. I was tired, my legs were a little sore, and I couldn’t wait until the next escape.
When I was very young, my mother used to take us on long walks. My mother, my sisters, and I, would go visiting and my legs would feel like they were about to give out from the length of our walks. I remember my sisters crossing their arms and linking hands, so I could sit in the crook they made and be carried. That’s how I feel when I walk. I’m being carried away from myself, away from my woes or random foolishness and into the outside of it all. I don’t know where my shoes will take me tomorrow, whether it’s to the river or the church yard. Sometimes I just get carried away.