Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Just a Sturdy Walking Stick Will Do for Me

You could go technical with a discussion of the differences between walking sticks and hiking sticks, and all the canes, poles (trekking or Nordic), staffs, and other variations of size, purpose, and decor in between. However, unless you are a rabologist -- a collector of such sticks and canes -- the distinctions may not interest you greatly.

As an avid walker, what I like to have in my hand is a sturdy walking stick. And a fine Indonesian one is what I've had for many years, thanks to a thoughtful gift from my daughter, Kristina. I believe I've had this fine stick on practically all the walks I've taken with my loyal Superdawg, Sadie. Doing the arithmetic, I figure that this great stick has aided us in at least 6,000 miles of walks along terrain ranging from mountainous to coastal. Once it helped us fend off a vicious dog that decided out of the blue that it wanted to chew us up. More than once, it helped me regain balance before falling flat on my face.  It also has assisted me in moving along despite a dodgy back and knee that might be attributed to senior wear and tear.

As much as I love my walking stick, I may have been improperly addressing it all these years. It may well be, technically speaking, a hiking stick given that it has the extra length that would assist in conquering some rugged terrain. I became aware of this with my wife Allyne's gift to me of a sure-enough walking stick from the Whistle Creek folks in Colorado -- one that is carved out of a handsome chunk of Carolina Hawthorn bush, with the root serving as the knob. As a walking stick, it reaches about to the elbow at relaxed position, not higher as with a hiking stick, or pole, or staff.

Whatever the name, I consider them all indispensable aids in experiencing the joys of walking, no matter any aches and pains or other physical challenges. So thank you, walking sticks, for never failing me.

© Robert G. Holland 2013

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