I complain enough about bad drivers almost hitting me while I walk that I may have given the impression I don’t like walking. I don’t like walking near cars, and I don’t like drivers, but I actually love walking.
When we’re strolling along, my son and I talk about anything and everything. Sometimes we have deep conversations about problems in the world and how to solve them. Often he tells me about funny YouTube videos or his new favorite Let’s Play. Because there’s no radio, there’s no temptation to drown out dialog with music.
We’ve both become stronger and faster with more endurance since we started walking everywhere. My bad hip is the best it’s been in years, and the weight of groceries we can carry has doubled with the help of a good backpack. Since we both gravitate toward sedentary activities at home, I’m glad we walk when we’re out.
We take short cuts that drivers can only dream of, jumping down ledges, sneaking through holes in fences, climbing up rocky embankments. We cut corners through parks and parking lots, turning mile long drives into three-quarter mile walks. We take alleyways and other ways to get where we’re going.
Walking is slower. I spend more time getting places, but that journey isn’t all bad. Sometimes my son and I cut through an alley to get where we are going. It was once paved but someone in city planning decided it had to go, and the paved ends were torn up. Now this disconnected scrap of land is a pedestrian thoroughfare and sunflowers have shot up through the cracks three or four feet high.
Drivers don’t get to see those sunflowers, don’t get to see nature reclaim that territory. Driving is so fast and so rigid, they can’t stop to smell the sunflowers and blow on the dandelions. This path isn’t a secret among pedestrians and I frequently see other people taking it. But it’s secret all the same because drivers can’t get to it.
Sometimes a walk is exactly what I need, especially if it’s an impossible drive.