Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Reading and Reflecting After a Good Walk

Sure enough, despite all the hype about a cold snap, Superdawg and I set off on our morning walk under bright-blue skies, temperatures in the 40s, and hardly any winds at all. What became of forecast wind chills into the 20s, I have no idea. I am just grateful we had yet another altogether pleasant walk, this time on neighborhood sidewalks.

After a brisk walk, Sadie is ready for a good nap, as you can see in the photo below. Although I say in my "Dairy of a Seventy-Something" that I "hate naps," that is a bit of hyperbole. I am just trying to express my interest in staying active. Actually, I am envious of those who can get in a good refreshing nap, or fall asleep right away at bedtime.

One thing I enjoy between walks is reading other walkers' takes on walking down through the ages. Today, I discovered a delightful Website,, that has amassed hundreds of quotations about many aspects of human existence, walking among them.

These are some of my favorites of the day:,

* "Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake"
-- Wallace Stevens

We have many lakes and ponds here in coastal Carolina. Sometimes I record our jaunts as "two-lake walk," or "three-lake walk," or some other combination, to take into account how many bodies of lake we have circumnavigated. These routes are best done when the swans are sailing. They've disappeared for some reason this winter, after having been here all last winter. I believe truth or at least clearer thoughts can come to you after circling a lake and maybe a few ponds.

* "Above all, do not lose your desire to walk, Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it."
-- Soren Kierkegaard

Keep moving. Don't give up. That says it all.

* "He who limps is still walking
-- Stanislaw J. Lee

Amen and amen!

* "Walking takes longer . . . than any other form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed."
-- Edward Abbey, "Walking"

There is a place for taking training up to the aerobic level, and getting the heart rate in the target zone. But in a great many ways, the world is moving too fast. Walking is a contemplative activity, a way of declaring to the world "not so fast; I'm going to make the morning last."

* "What really helps motivate me to walk are my dogs, who are my best pals. They keep you honest about walking because when it's time to go, you can't disappoint those little faces."
-- Wendie Malick

Sadiedawg long ago learned the meaning of the word "walk," and even recognizes the word when you spell it out. She starts prancing and barking excitedly and there's no ignoring the commitment to slip the leash on her and head out the door. Which leads to the final quotation of this day . . .

* Ever wonder where you'd end up if you took your dog for a walk and never once pulled back on the leash?
-- Robert Brault,

Yes, I do wonder that. Lately, I have just let Sadie decide which route to take. Will it be the woodsy, two-lake walk, or the two-pond neighborhood trek, or the short jaunt around the corner to a pond that my son's young lab loves to swim in when he can? I've been giving Sadie free rein, and surprisingly she alternates the routes rather than selecting the same one in back-to-back days. Of course, when I put her in the backseat of the car, she knows we are heading on a 7-minute drive to the beach for a walk, and she's always good with that. I do tug on the leash when I am pleasantly fatigued and lead her back. If I didn't do that, would she ever lead us back home? Maybe if I feel up to it some day (perhaps testing a new knee), I will experiment with that.

It is refreshing to read after walking. One day soon, I am going to read carefully the brilliant essay on walking that New England naturalist/philosopher Henry David Thoreau wrote. It is interesting how so much of his existence was centered on a pond and a small cottage, yet his thoughts inspire those of us living in far different environments today. More to come on that.

© Robert G. Holland 2013



  1. How about, "My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's 93 today and we don't know where the hell she is." spoken by Ellen DeGeneres. : )

    1. That is one of the funniest quotes I've seen abput walking, for sure. Good one, Ellen! : )


Your comments are welcomed.

On the Table Once More

Next week, I will assume the patient's position on an operating table. Again . For the 8th time since reaching these "golden" ...