Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Penta-tastic Walk

There is a reason I’m not spending my favorite season of travel in my beloved condo-on-wheels, traveling near and far.  But today is not the day to share; maybe tomorrow.

I can’t complain too much about being “stuck” on the upper gulf coast of Texas.  This is the time of year that Mother Nature mostly blesses this habitat with her perfect outdoor air conditioning.  And after a summer of heat and humidity, I’m now spending my days outdoors, as much as stick-house living allows.
Yesterday afternoon included a long walk.  Outdoor walking is one of the most important habits of my life.  I know that I can go to a gym and get on an elliptical or a stair-stepper or a treadmill and burn more calories than an hour walk outdoors.  But the gym, or any indoor venue, does not bring me the mental, emotional and spiritual therapy of a long walk outdoors.

I didn’t discover the healing powers of outdoor walking until nine years ago.  A life-event medical emergency almost took my life.  It definitely took away my health as a long recovery period was involved.  But my recovery did declare victory over a near-death experience.  There is no question in my mind that my recovery was in large part due to friends who got me outside, got me on my feet, and slowly walking.  My first walk was not 25 yards. 
But with each outdoor walk I found a strengthening and a calming of my selfhood.  And with a great deal of daily walks, each one a little further than the last, an hour walk became the magic length that separated me from a turning inward, to focus on my own selfish problems and challenges, to a turning outward, to the overwhelmingly larger-than-a-single-life landscape of Mother Nature.  I walked in rain and heat and cold.  Walking was my life preserver.  A walking stick my faithful companion. 

And now, whether a multi-hour hike at my beloved Lost Maples State Natural Area, or a one-hour leisurely stroll on a neighborhood greenbelt, an outdoor walk is my own personal tribute to:  an hour a day keeps the doctor away.
How can I describe this visually?  Well, when I started my walk yesterday, I walked past a large grouping of penta flowers. They looked something like this:


And after an hour walk, I returned past the same pentas and they looked more like this:
Give outdoor walking a try if you can.  If you can’t, as my wheel-chair enabled doctor cannot, give rolling a try.  And if five minutes is your best first day, that is OK; that is about where I started. But if each day you walk a little further, and if each day finds Mother Nature your focused companion (along with dogs or other non-verbal companions), I’m confident you will find a habit that sooths the soul and strengthens the body. 

I truly believe life-treasures will come into focus, as yesterday did these tiny Heavenly Bamboo berries share their beauty with me:



  1. I will be interested to hear where you will "park" for the winter. As you read on our blog, we will be in Houston. I would like to go further south, but this year I wanted to stay some place I had been before.

    I hope you come up with a solution for a scooter. Maybe a different carrier is easier than ours. You need one that sets on the ground and then hydraulics pull it up. Is there such a thing?

  2. I hope your plan is to park by a southern border. I will be back in Texas on November 5th.


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