exhilarating decision

embarrassingly late bedtime last night (thinking extremely overused thoughts): I really ought to exercise more.

pause

(again thinking nothing new): Why don’t I just get up before Robert and walk around the neighborhood?

pause

(answering myself): I don’t know. I can’t seem to make it happen.

pause

(this might have been a new idea): Why don’t I set the alarm and just do it?

pause

I will. 

(I hop out of bed, set the alarm, check I set it correctly, snuggle back into bed and fall asleep within seconds.)

(hours later, hearing rain pouring down outside the slightly opened bedroom window, noticing it is about 6 a.m., and feeling Robert’s hand on my shoulder, after a few seconds to regain consciousness, suddenly I speak aloud): Aw, man!

(Robert): What?

(me, disappointed): I set my alarm so I can get up and take a walk around the neighborhood and now I can’t do it.  Unless that rain stops.

We fall back asleep. An hour later, my alarm rings.  I don’t pay any attention to what’s playing — probably something static-y, as usual, for my clock-radio was a Christmas present when I was a teenager in the 80s! — but I jump out of bed, shut it off, and look out the window.  It’s wet but not really raining.  I pull on some clothes.

The hardest part is figuring out what to carry and how. Yes, key. No, I don’t really need my ID; I’m just walking around the neighborhood. Where is that little key ring I know I have? That took longer than anything else, but finally I make it outside.

* * *

As I was walking, I enjoyed the cool fresh air, even with a few sprinkles of rain, I listened to the crunching of my feet on gravelly wet sand, I admired the houses – some with surprisingly vibrant painted shutters – and trees beginning to show beautiful autumn colors, I said hi to a few adults heading out for their work days, pondered the two kids I passed waiting at their bus stops looking everywhere but at me, and thought many wonderfully-uninterrupted thoughts about my life.

It was a short walk, but brisk.  It got my heart pumping strongly for at least fifteen minutes.  I have a few good hills in my neighborhood.  I think I did just enough to get those good exercise feelings without exhausting myself, and I’m eager to repeat this daily.  My alarm is still set and now I have clothes on a hook, ready to grab tomorrow morning. I will only miss a walk if I get very sick, or have to drive somewhere very early for an event far away, or we’re traveling.  Even on vacation I can find ways to walk; usually we walk more because we’re traveling. I also have plans for how I will expand my neighborhood walks.  There are more streets, an adjacent neighborhood, steeper hills (one exceptionally steep!), and possibly even a wooded trail.  I’m not familiar with the woods that divide our neighborhood from the one beside us.  Yet.

And my exercise did not stop when I returned to the front door. Inside the house, I stretched. I thought (again not for the first time) how I’d like to do some yoga and aerobics with videos. After several stretches, I ran up the stairs to shower, where I began writing this post in my head and planning the photo I would take to accompany it. Those are my new walking shoes that I bought in August to replace the worn out ones I’d had for the entire last decade!

* * *

Special thanks to Heather, who asked for a walking partner early last spring and with whom I have been enjoying long, exhilarating walks most Saturday mornings ever since.

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