I love to walk. I do. I will walk rain or shine, snow or below zero, boiling hot and humid or whatever else comes my way. Sometimes (and most recently) I find myself walking mostly around town, great big loops that bring me down streets with no lights, or to the statehouse steps, or up into the park. I often spend at least a couple hours out there, and I don’t really track my speed or my distance, but normally in a good hour walk I can cover at least four miles. On a good day, I’ll spend two hours walking and get, tops, eight miles. It’s a process, and I am still no runner but if I get that urge I tend to walk and sprint. I’ve never been a long-distance runner, but I am more than happy to be a long distance walker.
I love walking because, unlike running (which for me is often a painfully self-conscious experience, unless I’m trail running) I can think. I can turn my music up on full blast, drowning out the sounds of others’ conversations, the sounds of cars and sirens and humanity. This is my meditation. I smile at people. I acknowledge them, even when I am in my own world. I notice this about myself as I wander, reflecting on my day. I have a better tendency to interact, even silently.
In the summers, when I really need to void myself of all of humanity’s stimuli, I swim. I can focus on the water, literally just the water, moving with it or against it, no sound but the blood thumping in my ears and nothing in front of me but darkness and mud and tiny little fish. I can breathe evenly, working my entire body into exhaustion while simultaneously feeling like I am part of the process, part of the water, instead of simply doing something because my body needs it.
I am by no means in shape anymore (the bad habit of smoking and my desk jobs have seen to that), but I am at least trying, I think. I could try harder. At least I have a hopeful quit date for Sunday. Nicotine you foul siren, I will manage to rid myself of your addiction somehow.
Tonight, as I walked, I thought about moving. I thought about it a lot. I ran over every thing I needed to pack or inventory in this apartment. It’s not a lot, quite frankly. Not for this weekend anyway. But I realized that this is a true opportunity for me to purge my life of unneeded stuff. And as I’ve packed, I’ve realized how much stuff I own. And how much I can get rid of. Good god, some of the things I keep just for sentimental value- so much is going to donation. I have memories, and I can write. Sentimentality can be relived in those places, not through things.
I have tried to live simplistically but as I’ve packed, I’ve realized how far from that I am. So, in this new stage in my life, I am attempting to purge. Really purge. The need to rid myself of things is so strong I feel it rattling my bones, my soul screaming for respite from such a consumer-driven mentality.
So much change on the horizon, and I think it is all for the best.