Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Put On the Thinking Cap Before Walking

After returning from a long journey, it is hard to get back into a routine -- either blogging or walking. But we have had a delightful 48-hour window of fairly low humidity (by August's stifling standards anyway), so Superdawg and I have stepped out the past two mornings with some renewed vim and vigor.

Along the way, I rediscovered some lessons I should have long ago mastered. One is always to take some water, even if the weather is not torrid. In fact, with cooler weather, you tend to pick up the pace, and so may well need a sip of water even more than on a hot day. Sure enough, a mile into the walk, I had a dry mouth and no way to wet my whistle -- an uncomfortable feeling, to say the least. Superdawg was panting pretty heavily; she could have used a drink, too.

Luckily, we were saved by two young entrepreneurs -- boys who set up a stand roadside selling cups of Kool-Aid or lemonade for $1. I gladly shelled out a buck for the lemonade (Kool-Aid being way too sugary for me.) These nice kids also thought of Sadie and gave her some ice cubes.

Today, I bought water with us.

More often than I'd like to admit, I've headed out without my cellphone in my pocket. True enough, dedicated walkers of past centuries like Thomas Jefferson and Henry David Thoreau didn't have cells to stay in touch during their long treks. But if you have access to such a modern lifeline, why not have it with you in case of an emergency? This is not to recommend walking with a cell stuck in your ear the whole way. I saw a young lady walking in such a total cellular mode this morning that I was afraid she was going to bump smack into a tree. Cell-absorption would seem to ruin the chance of gaining any sense of solitude.

A few times, I also have failed to grab my sunglasses, usually because Sadie was so eager to get started, she just dragged me a few blocks before I could change glasses. At that point, I often said to myself, what the heck, why backtrack -- just go ahead with regular glasses. Down here in semi-tropical South Carolina, that is a mistake. You need your shades when you venture out. You should protect your eyes from the glare.

Finally, I confess I have ventured out without my medical necklace. Furthermore, I confess that right now I do not know where it is -- somewhere around the house, I suppose. I went on our trip to North Carolina over the weekend without it. All this is not smart on my part. Once, when we lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, I did some morning exercise, ate a very light lunch, and then set off on a brisk walk with Superdawg. Soon I felt very lightheaded and almost passed out. Suppose I had. From the necklace, medical responders could have found out about my type-2 diabetes and heart-valve replacement. They also could have figured out how to get in touch with my family. I should always have that necklace -- I am going to find it now (or order another one, posthaste, if I can't!).

In another step toward a more prudent me, I am creating an acronym to help me grasp what I need to remember before going on a hike or walk. WGN--CC. That will be easy for my noggin to process because WGN is the Chicago TV station that carries many Cubs games -- games I watch when the Cubbies play "my" Cardinals. So W will stand for water; G for glasses (sun); N for necklace (medical), and CC for cellphone (and Cubs/Cardinals).

Now I've got it. This old guy has his outdoor preparedness totally together. For real. Always. Forevermore.

 © Robert G. Holland  2013

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