Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Walk Don't Run

I have a friend who walks this bridge regularly.

When I was a little girl  I would visit my grandmother for two weeks every summer and we would walk everywhere. My grandmother didn't drive due to a few unfortunate driving incidents in her younger years so she walked. We walked two miles to the grocery store, five miles to swimming lessons at the YMCA and up to six miles to get to a worthy fabric store. And then we would walk home again.
I love to walk. I like to take things slowly but in life, things have a way of speeding up. Life rolls downhill and whether I want to or not I inadvertently speed up. One child becomes two, two become three, then four. The hours in the day become shorter and shorter and the tasks assigned to those hours multiply like the children. I am rolling downhill gathering more and more tasks, jobs and commitments, a giant snowball bent on getting bigger and more unmanageable as I pick up speed. I am out of control. And then suddenly things screech to a halt. 
I experience a back injury that hobbles me the way no childbirth, no sickness, no surgery ever has. I must stay home and stay still. I cannot drive, but I can walk. In the beginning though I can't even physically walk so I walk through my mind, and books, I walk through other people's mind's via their blogs. I come across a woman named Alissa Walker who lives in L.A. And walks everywhere. Her blog A walker in LA reminds me once again of what it means to be a walker. To slow down. To plan a route and tasks based solely on where my own two feet can take me. As I grow stronger I begin to walk along the river near my home, I think about walking to the grocery store instead of driving. I have been training for a half marathon and because of my injury I decide (well, OK I was told by my doctor) that I will not run it, I will walk it. I want to slow down. I want to change my life to reflect my new outlook and slow my pace permanently. Then, I am cleared to drive. I can work again and run to the store to grab milk in the blink of an eye and pick up and drop off children, take dogs to the vet and run across town to visit a friend, squeezing in three or four errands along the way. All of the things normal people do. 
The snowball is once again at the top of the hill. One small nudge and I will begin my descent. But the warm weather in which snowballs cannot exist is coming. A move to Saudi Arabia is on the horizon where for me there is no driving and there are no snowballs. Will I like the eternal slowness of an ever present Saudi summer? Or will I long for a heavy blanket of snow and a steep hill. Only time and the weather will tell.

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