The other morning, rounding the block to get a cup of coffee, it occurred to me that I need to walk more. The cool breeze felt wonderful on my face, my pace slowed, my steps stretched out. Just as I was getting my breathing and motions nicely coordinated, I got to the door.
"I've got to do more walking," I muttered to Julie, the clerk I've carried on a running conversation with for several years.
"Yeah, a nice walk on the beach, where it smells good," she said, gazing out over the noisy parking lot with a dreamy look on her face.
Lost in the craziness
Without noticing, I've become a sprinter. I sprint from the office to the car, to other offices, down store aisles. I've even become a night sprinter. Sometimes strange dreams release me back into this world at 3 a.m.
Then I sprint for Rubber Tubby, where I'm always safe and warm. I listen as the hooting of owls tapers off and is replaced by the twitterings of the first morning birds. I float and doze, breathing in sync with the foghorn, until the pale eastern sky warns me that I'd better get my act together and take it on the road.
We all seem to have the same issues. When the Gershwin brothers wrote "Summertime, and the livin' is easy," they couldn't imagine life in the 21st century. My long, lovely walks along the beaches and trails have gotten lost in the craziness of the days.
After fighting beaurocracy or exotic plant bullies all day, who wants to fight domestic humanoid bullies driving SUVs and pickups to get to a safe, peaceful walking place?
I asked a CHP officer what to do about the problem, and he said to pull off and let them go by if possible. While they're roaring by you, flipping you off for daring to drive the speed limit, take down their license number and turn it in to the CHP office.
The offender will be sent a warning letter, and if a description of the driver is also available, they might end up struggling to explain unacceptable behavior. For what it's worth, the percentage of road warriors rises as the day progresses, reaching a peak in the early evening.
First steps of inspiration
Most of us drive to work in the morning, and by starting out early we can have our chosen trail or stretch of beach all to ourselves. It's during those peaceful walks, when you breathe deeply and your muscles get warm and loose that the fires of inspiration are kindled.
Been struggling with a decision? Take a walk, be willing to see the answer, and then let go and enjoy the moment. Watch birds or waves, revel in the feel of the breeze and the scent of fresh air.
Realize that this moment is really all you have, and it's perfect. By the time you get back to the car, you may notice your decision has been made. And if not, you'll still arrive at work in a peaceful space, ready to be productive and fully present.