Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I walk the walk. I take a hike.

This is a back-to-basics post.  I was walking down the street with N-son on Saturday when he took my hand, grinned up at me mischievously, and said, "I like . . . having the sun on my face!"

He was stealing my line.  No fair.  Our family plays a game called "I like" where we take turns saying things we like doing.  It's a sappy-sounding game, but my teenagers haven't figured out that they're too cool to be that sappy, so they still start it up at random moments.  And N-son was having double-fun, because he snagged one of my favorite lines, leaving me with liking . . .  eating waffles, holding hands, drinking coffee, hugging his dad . . . still a lot to choose from, actually.

But N-son reminded me how much I love walking.  What a wonderful thing it is to be out-and-about on my own two feet.  Even better: to be out-and-about holding hands with my 12-year-old son, on our own four feet.

Some of what this frugal-meister-Miser Mom loves about walking is what it means we're not doing, of course.  We weren't cruising along in an automobile, paying for gas and etc.  Walking around is nearly free (shoes and chocolate are just about my only expenses; your own chocolate mileage may vary).

The transportation aspect of walking is the reason we bought our home 3 blocks from my office.  It's the very un-theological reason I chose the church we attend, less than a mile from our home.  I wanted to structure my life to make walking just as easy as driving, so I wouldn't be tempted to default to the car.

But a walk is more than what it isn't, if that makes sense.

A walk is a way to recover (when I had a surgery a decade ago, the doctors got me back on my feet by getting me back on my feet; they literally made me walk until I farted).

When I'm healthy, a walk is a way to stay healthier.  It's one of the most amazingly sustainable kinds of exercise there is.
My guy and N-son walking to church in 2009.

A midday walk is perfect for breaking up that computer-induced trance.  After sitting still all morning, a walk is probably better than coffee at perking me up.  (But please don't tell my coffee that I'm insulting it; I love my coffee).

A walk is a way to connect with the people I'm walking with.  I've walked my kids through many of their relationship woes, through their "I don't know what I want to do with my life" worries, through their "I'm just so angry I could spit" moods.  But even more often, walking is a good way to swing between silence and conversation and back again, unforced.  As N-son has figured out, it's a great time to play "I like".  (And it's a perfect time to steal Mom's favorite lines).

A walk is a way to connect with the neighbors around me; to meet the new puppy, to check out my neighbors' garden, to catch up on the news of my friends' children.  I can't do any of that from the safety of my automobile.

A walk can be a romantic activity (think of the cliche "SWM likes to take long walks on the beach").  My husband and I like to take long walks across our college campus.  We hold hands, talk, walk, and make googly eyes at each other.

A walk can be frugal-yet-memorable entertainment for an entire crowd.  When I was growing up, Saturday hikes through the woods were something our entire family loved (especially the dogs).  Now that I live near a city, we head downtown for special events, gadding about on foot.  Even when we do drive, we'll park far from the center of town at the cheaper parking spots, and hoof it the rest of the way in.  And a walk this time of year past my favorite trees is a definite feast for the eyes.

Walking is health and entertainment and transportation.  Its hard to beat the price, says the Miser Mom.   But it's also hard to come up with something I might ever want to spend actual money on that could do all that for me and the family.

The final word on the subject comes from Miser-Dog:

He asks:  Do you want to go for a walk?  Do you?  You know you do!

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