I’m still walking.
It’s been just about a year and a half since my neighbor and I started meeting each morning, exactly at 8, for a 2 ½ mile stroll that varies from briskly paced to just barely making it. There are those days when we greet each other in my driveway with a robust “Good morning, let’s go,” and then there are days when one of us drapes over the hood of the car and moans, “I don’t think I can make it this morning.” But we always do.
Three things have changed. One is that our cholesterol levels have gone down. Another is that we now carry weights. I’m still on two pounds in each hand and she’s been on three pounds for weeks.
The third is that we absolutely, no way, not ever, don’t talk politics. We are at opposite ends of political philosophy and the minute that became clear, we banned the topic completely. What we do talk about is our fabulous children, recipes, health bulletins about our mutual friends, and bargains at TJ Maxx.
We’ve both recently had visits from our extremely fit children who, during their stays, joined us on our morning regimen. My friend’s daughter drags us to near collapse while she races along, pushing a baby carriage. Mine keeps a slower pace with us while we puff away on our regular course, and at the end takes off for an additional 6-mile sprint, followed by a session of Pilates.
Our route has its landmarks. There’s the “second bridge” that means one mile. There’s the yellow sign in the middle of a hill where, if we’re going to take a break, we do. There’s the sunny direction that we avoid during hot days and the completely shady roadway where we freeze on frosty mornings. Our 2½ miles are measured in either direction.
My exercise during the recent heat wave involved gasping for breath while walking from fan to fan, hoping to catch a bit of a breeze. My cat, not very friendly during the best of times, stared at me accusingly, letting me know that petting during a warm spell was out of the question.
But these days there is a hint of something wonderful in the air for us walkers. There’s a buzzing sound and a sweet aroma in the meadows that promise clear, cool days ahead. I suspect the lush foliage that sprang from all that blinkin’ rain a while back will produce a bumper crop of brilliant leaves when the air turns just cool enough. Then we’ll dig out our gloves and slip on our day-glo orange knit hats that warm our ears and protect us from deer hunters.
I had hoped when we started this we would both soon become “lithe and svelte” with boundless energy, our skin aglow with health. We would extend the length of our walks to at least 5 miles and increase the size of the weights we carry to a respectable 8 pounds in each hand.
None of this has happened yet. I’m just grateful we’re still holding on, and walking on.