Yesterday, I got a good walk in. My little dog, Rosa Parks, opted to stay home. She was happily dozing on her cushion near the heater. She didn’t rouse herself when I put on my shoes. She ignored me when I grabbed a jacket. She opened one eye when I filled my pocket with kibble, but did not get up. So, the big dog and I headed out on our own.
Darla is an easy dog to walk with. Though she wags a greeting to every vehicle that comes along, she easily yields to them. She wanders ahead to explore the roadside, but she stays within sight, and she comes when she’s called. Unlike the little dog who expects to be coaxed along and rewarded with treats, Darla needs no encouragement.
It was a lovely day, sunny and mild. The fall color is still evident, but clearly nearing its end. Last week’s bright hues have dulled. Bronze has replaced gold, and many trees are bare. Fallen leaves cover the edges of the roads. It feels important to get outside to see the season’s glory. To take notice. To appreciate the warm days. For all of these reasons, it was a good day for a long walk.
Way back in January, when I was laying out my goals for the new year, I decided to be more disciplined about walking. One mile a day, on average, was my plan. Because there will always be days when a walk is impossible, I was determined to make up for those times with longer walks on other days. Then, all the things that got in the way last year, and the year before, continued to foil my good intentions.
Daylight Savings Time makes darkness come early. Weather is always a consideration, from winds that threaten to topple trees, to ice that could cause bone-breaking falls, to driving rain or extreme cold. Mosquitos and gnats can be discouraging in the warm months. Then there are days when I’m just too tired. And days when aches and pains – my own, or those of my little dog – affect my plans.
Almost every day, I get out for a walk with the dogs. Too often, though, I turned at the half-mile mark. That, combined with those days that I didn’t walk at all, served to bring my average down. The longer walks haven’t happened as regularly as they needed to. Now, at the end of October, I’m falling far short.
Last weekend, on another beautiful day when Rosa Parks again stayed at home, Darla walked with me all the way to Fox Lake. She enjoyed a swim before we headed back home. That was a four-mile walk, and I was encouraged. Yesterday, we walked a mile south on the Fox Lake Road, then turned east onto Hannigan Road, to check out the scenery there. We walked the length of that road, then turned, and retraced our path. The colors were spectacular, and the distance, round trip, was six-miles.
My goal of walking 365 miles this year is possible, but it will be close. I’m eighty miles short of that number, with 62 days left in the year. Today, my joints are aching, and Rosa Parks is limping. It doesn’t seem likely. But, I’m not giving up. Whether I reach the target or not, we all benefit from the exercise. And, on days as pleasant as yesterday was, there is plenty to appreciate along the way!