Y? Because I like to. I live a mile away from the YMCA. I joined six years ago when I first came to Winston-Salem, because I had to have something to do while waiting. I was waiting for travel documents to come for my brother and sister-in-law, so they could go to China to get their youngest little girl. I was waiting to figure out my next steps after having left my husband of thirty-three years. I was waiting for the marriage to be legally over, and waiting to see who I was and who I could become.
I love my Y. I lift weights. I ride a stationary bike. I take Gentle Yoga classes several times a week, and I’ve met some great people. I still find refuge in my Yoga class, though I don’t go as regularly as I did in the early days. My life has gotten happily busier! Nowadays, I walk. I used to walk with a friend who lived around the corner, but she moved away, so now I just walk by myself.
I do some of my best blog writing when I walk. Often, I will be inspired with a topic, and this past week was no exception. This post is the result.
Walking is scenic. It is rhythmic, and it is meditative. It takes one whole rosary to get to the front steps, and coming home, I usually work out a blog post in my head. Often, I remember it, and write and post. Many times, I don’t remember what I’d thought to write, only to have it pop up later.
It’s a gift to be able to live in such a beautiful and pedestrian-friendly place. It’s a gift to exercise my body and my mind. It’s a gift to be among friendly, kind, funny faces who greet me with welcoming words when I’ve missed a few classes. Walking to the Y is one of my gratitudes, often. Walking to the Y has been a huge part of who I am and who I have become. Who could ask for more? Prayers and fitness, and working out in more ways than one. It doesn’t get any better than this. Look at the photo. Get it?
“Noticing” would be a good year word, and is much like “look,” which was one of my previous year words. It’s something of which I have tried to be completely conscious. Not always successful, but I hit it at least once a day. This morning I was walking home from Mass, early, early. It’s the one I call the “crack-of-dawn” Mass at 6:45.
When I strike out, it is dark. When I return home it is light. This is what I noticed this morning:
It was the sunlight beams arriving at the tops of the trees, giving them a golden glow. It was remarkable.
And so I am remarking.
Exercise is a great thing, but sometimes a person can just be foolish about it. That was me with my college friends when I visited them. They have an enviable routine, and I was eager to join them.
They take their dog, Elvis, drive to their town’s riverside green-belt, walk three to five miles, and end at the dog park. They’ve been doing this so regularly they were interviewed for a promotional video-clip by the city. Everyone knows them…well, Elvis…by name, and they have regulars they meet when they walk.
Hattie and I were very happy to share their walking experience when we visited for the weekend. Wouldn’t you know it, but it rained when we got up our first morning. After checking the Internet to see when the rain was going to stop, we struck out around noon. I loved seeing the foliage, the river, and walking their path. Hattie loved pulling me along. At the far end of the walk, however, the sky broke open, and we stood under a magnolia tree from maximum available protection during the downpour.
None of us had money with us. Heck, two of us didn’t even have pockets! So, we couldn’t go get a cup of coffee and wait out the rain. And, we had the dogs. We thought about sending Elvis to get the car, but he isn’t reliable in the midst of squirrels, which would distract him from getting back to us. So, we decided just to walk on. Hey. We weren’t going to get any wetter!
It was a great walk…good company, good scenery, good exercise…and while the humidity was high, the temperature was comfortable. That we were too foolish to come in out of the rain was a moot point.