“Come, let’s take a walk!” This invitation is one I usually will accept willingly. Since childhood, walking has been an enjoyable activity for me. It was fed by an innate curiosity. I wanted to know where that path led or what was in the woods below the homes nearby. It was in the woods that I found, to my delight, little purple flowers to pick for Mom and saw a creature I learned was a woods turtle. Another finding was a plant called “skunk cabbage”. I discovered it aptly named when I inadvertently broke off a leaf.
My curiosity has not diminished with adulthood for I still yearn to see where the unfamiliar road may lead. This curiosity has taken me on solo journeys to the New England states and Florida.
Walking rewards me with peace of mind and soul in times of loss and distress. This was especially true when walking in the early morning or the evenings when I walked the quiet dimly lit streets of the small town where my husband, Del, and I lived. After Del’s death, my walking was limited to walking our dog, Duke.
A friend and neighbor suffered a series of tragic events. She lost her mother followed by two major surgeries. There was no family nearby to help her deal with these events so I stepped in. I offered comfort and help getting counseling and did whatever I could. She had difficulty sleeping and we discovered walking helped her relax enough that she could go to bed and sleep. Thus began our routine of evening walks. We walked the dimly lit streets of the little town and, in time, she recovered, but we continued our walking. Our walking became a time of enjoyment as well as a time of relaxation.
When I moved from Western PA, I continued my walking but now I was accompanied by my little Schnausers. First it was Charlie then Dutch. These walks provided exercise for the dogs and for me reflection and appreciation of my blessings and the beauty of God’s world. When I moved to Pine Run, I still had a reason to walk several times a day with my dog, Dutch. Dutch is gone and now I must find a new way to get out and enjoy the world around me.
My ability to walk has been somewhat compromised in the last few years but I still want to walk even though it’s not as easy as it once was. Though aging may affect our ability to walk, the joy is still there when we make the effort even with the assistance of walkers or motorized vehicles. We can still enjoy the beauty around us. There are still the skies above – sometimes even a cloudy, rainy sky can be fascinating. There may be a sunrise of red and gold or a sunset with glowing colors to give us a fleeting moment of wonder. We just need to take the time to look. At Pine Run, we can enjoy a pond alive with geese and our own graceful swans. One evening as I walked slowly from my cottage and approached the pond, it appeared to be a glittering sparkling field, I was so caught up by its beauty, I had to stop to take it in. It gave me a feeling of awe, peace and joy that I shall treasure.
— Phyllis Cassidy