Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I love to walk, usually at a good clip. When I am alone I bring my i-pod, because the music can take me away, get my mind and emotions moving to other places, and my legs pump faster. I like the bright air and the immediacy of a morning walk on the road by the beach, the smell of the ocean, gasoline and coffee.

I walk the sidewalks of my neighborhood past familiar houses and gardens; seeing details I never notice from a car – a plastic playhouse in a driveway with Godzilla peering out of the window, a forgotten newspaper on the front steps nestled in a recent drop of deep red fall leaves. I like to feel my muscles working, doing what they are supposed to do in tandem with my heart. An evening walk offers glimpses into secret worlds behind lit windows at twilight; a head bent over at a desk doing homework, the muffled clatter of dinner dishes, the blue glow of a television in an upstairs window.

I love to walk with a friend. This can be better than sharing a cup of coffee or a cocktail or a meal. Maybe it’s the simultaneous flow of conversation and blood in the veins. There is something about the constant movement, filling your lungs with fresh air, and not even looking at each other that often – that brings out the best and deepest thoughts and laughter. When you are not fidgeting with napkins or wine glasses or food preparation and consumption – everything is stripped away. A pure state of communication emerges, where the absurdly funny anecdote, the fight with your kid, the e-mail from an old love or heartache over an ailing parent can surface and be released, without judgment and with a fresh energy that lightens the burden. It is the physicality of it. You walk it out. And when you are finished and home, you are maybe a little sore and sweaty and windblown, but calmed inside. Ready for whatever comes next.