Some people think I walk merely to find money, but that is not true. I do find money when I walk (2 cents today, 76 cents yesterday), but that is a by-product.
I walk because I need the exercise and it is a healthy and stress-reducing activity for me. I probably ought to add several other elements to my daily workout routine, but better to walk two miles a day than to do nothing: “Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”
A few years ago, I was on the losing end of a wreck when a truck carrying a full load of timber plowed into the front end of my car. My driver’s side door was penned shut, so I crawled over the console and then the passenger seat to get away from the gas spilling from the truck, now dripping from about ten inches in front of my head. Later, while reflecting on the accident, I wondered how many men and women, twenty and thirty years younger than me, would not have had the physical ability to emerge from the vehicle without the assistance of emergency personnel? However much more athletic and agile I should be, I am glad I am as active as I am.
I love being outdoors, in God’s creation. Daily, I can enjoy the aroma of Carolina jasmine or the beauty of roses in the neighborhood, or the songs of the mockingbirds on the limbs of the trees along my route. I have also had experiences that are quite exceptional, just because I was out and about. Over the years, I have, serendipitously, seen loggerhead turtles clawing out of their eggs and returning, over a long stretch of beach sand, to the Atlantic Ocean. That was at Folly Beach, SC. In my own neighborhood, I have seen a hawk flying about three feet off the ground with a squirrel in its talons: “Red in tooth and claw.” I have seen a moon bow on the island of Iona, Scotland. While walking in the Gill Creek watershed near my house, in the middle of the day, a huge owl scared the bejabbers out of me when it suddenly decided to spread its six-foot wingspan and move to a different location. Some of life’s experiences will never happen when you are sitting in front of a television.
Walking is a sustainable, low-impact means of exercising. My health could change tomorrow, but so far, neither my knees, nor my back, nor any other part of my body seems to reject the notion of a daily walk.
I have learned, while traveling, that just getting a block or two off the beaten path allows me to see sites that most other tourists never view (or hear, or smell). Having experienced foreign countries as a walker, I get irritated at myself that I did not start this daily habit sooner. A full travel schedule is not an excuse for me to walk less, but a motivation for me to walk more. At a conference in Grapevine, Texas, at a new convention facility, while on a walk, I saw an ocelot that was obviously being displaced by all the new construction in the area. In Cooperstown, New York, one fall, I walked away from town, over the crest of the hill behind the “mom and pop” motel where I was staying, and found myself in the middle of a Norman Rockwell painting. A group of volunteers was raking leaves in their churchyard, and burning the leaves in huge piles. But even a picturesque Rockwell painting could not capture the aroma of the smoking leaves or the movement, laughter and camaraderie of the friends leaning on their rakes for a few moments of playful conversation.
And, of course, I do find money, not every day, but often enough.