Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Serenity Walk



An Al-Anon group from a neighboring district in Eastern Missouri invited all who wished to attend a Serenity Walk at Cuivre (sounds like quiver) River State Park.  The walk was scheduled for the afternoon of October 18.  When I first heard the announcement, I made note of the date, time, and location, hoping that our very iffy October weather would allow a road trip and hike.


I asked my friend Kris to join me.  As the weather was PERFECT, we headed out for the approximately one hour drive to the park near Troy, Missouri.  We were to meet at the Stone Lodge at the park.  We knew no one else who planned to attend, but I'm not shy, so we started asking people in the parking lot as we made our way to the rustic lodge.  Cheri had started a fire for the s'mores and had all the fixings ready for us to chow down.  Soon, about a dozen people gathered, mostly women, but also including one man and the charming 14 year old Chandler and we decided to keep the s'mores for after the walk.  Cheri led us to the trail head and off we went.  Two 'smore's police' stayed at the lodge to protect our precious assets!





This walk was wonderful.  The trees, mostly maple and sycamore, were in their finest Fall colors - aflame with huge leaves.  The trail was not too difficult as we headed uphill for about the first half of the walk.  At the top of the ridge, there were several overlooks where we could see the glorious vistas - the Cuivre River, a canal, some horses grazing and crops growing in a checkerboard of fields below us.  Sunny, breezy, warm, with new friends, quiet, cheerful conversation, and the trail ahead all down hill.



Kris took these photos so you could see what we saw and drool.  It was a fantastic afternoon.  After the walk, we burned our marshmallows to make s'mores, ate them, then had a cozy meeting on Serenity led by Cheri.


The only thing better than a perfect walk in the woods is a perfect walk in the woods with friends.

If you look closely at that last photo, you can see a few of us walking through the cathedral of trees.  Thanks, K!




*************************** Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Let The Sun Shine In

Fall is not my favorite season.  In St. Louis, the crispness and brilliantly colored leaves one associates with Fall are often smothered with cold rain, triggering my asthma.  Rain means gloomy skies.  A couple days of that and I feel like I'm going bonkers.  I'm not a depressed person.  I have a great life that I enjoy.  But, a few gloomy days and things seem a little less rosy.  Know what I mean?

So, I have learned a way around the gloomy skies and the cold rain.  A way to make even the asthma better.  I put on a happy face and walk at the mall.  I'm not unique.  There are lots of mall walkers.  In fact, it's hard to find a time at the mall when I don't see others walking briskly, ignoring the gazillion things they could buy, intent on getting in their walks.  I also see folks pushing walkers and a particularly sweet elderly couple, holding hands, and walking at a very slow amble, seeming to enjoy every window they pass.

There's a lesson there.  Ever wonder how they got to be an old couple, holding hands, walking a half mile an hour, but enjoying the view?  I feel sure this is not the first mall they've walked.  They've been doing so - moving and looking forward - for many years.  And, with smiles on their faces.

So, trite as it sounds, I put on a happy face and smile at all I meet when I walk at the mall same as I do when I'm walking on sidewalks and trails.  So far, it's working.



*************************** Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Deep Existence Speaks

Stephen from Deep Existence has a new article about stress.  Here's an excerpt from it:


The APA does a yearly report on how stress is affecting our lives. Here are three interesting takeaways from their 2013 report:

1. Exercise reduces stress, and people value it, but most still don’t do it

  • 50% of people said exercise was extremely or very important to them.
  • Of those people, only 27% said they did an excellent or very good job at doing it.
  • Just 17% of all people surveyed reported exercising daily (the other 83% need an exercise mini habit)
So, which of these three groups of people are you?  I'm one of the 17% who exercise daily - and most of that is walking at a brisk pace.  I can definitely confirm that it is a huge stress reliever!

Read more of Stephen's articles.  He's got a lot of useful information and good tools for creating good habits.  




*************************** Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Taking Paths





Could not have said it better myself!  Thanks to Kristin Omdahl for this vivid reminder.





*************************** Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Chester Mills, Quick, We Found Your Egg!!!!


 If you've seen the TV show, Under the Dome, you know what the headline above is all about.  If you've not seen the show, well, it's just a large, rather plain sculptural egg with no special significance.  I prefer to think of it as the giver and taker of life as seen Under the Dome.  It's really quite a mischievous ovum.

How did we find this magical (or not) egg?  At Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis County near the intersection of Interstates 270 and 44.  As the name suggests, the park is full of sculpture.  I'm no judge of art, especially sculpture.  Much of it does not speak to me like paintings do.  But, I do find the occasional piece of sculpture that I'd like to take home with me.  Not the egg.

The Sculpture Park has lots of trails.  The most obvious trail is a loop of about a half mile that is paved and teems with all kinds of sculptural pieces and the plaques to identify the artist and explain the piece.  There's even a giant piece that looks like huge paper towel rolls that have been welded together at interesting angles and encourages children to climb on it.  The other pieces have clearly stated No Climbing signs.  Even with the one that you can climb on, you better be:
young
agile
fearless
not afraid of heights
energetic

I seem to be lacking in a couple of these areas, so I remain on terra firma.  Which works well if you want to walk.  There is a maze of trails through the woods that we have yet to inspect.  The first time Kris and I walked there, we were pleasantly surprised with the quality and length of the trail we walked.  The bonus is that sculptural work is sprinkled throughout the woods, from some tiny pieces to huge wooden treehouse type works, towers, and a giant caterpillar looking thing which is composed of 55 lead naval buoys that appear to wriggle along the trail.  I was captivated by that one!

Laumeier is a place Kris and I will walk again - probably many times.  The trails are well maintained and have a nice range of hills and valleys.  In summer there is plenty of shade on the wooded trials.  We are hopeful that the trails sill still be walkable in winter weather.  We don't mind the cold, but harsh wind and ice are deal breakers that have us heading to the mall to walk.  We much prefer to walk outdoors, but sometimes weather and darkness just don't allow it.  Our Plan B is the mall which works well until about Thanksgiving when Christmas shopping begins in earnest and walking amidst the crowds loses much of its appeal. 

Do you have a park or great walking venue somewhere near you?  How do you know unless you go looking? You may well be amazed at the joy walking in the woods, on a muddy trail, or through a meadow will bring you.  We saw six dear while exiting Castlewood Park just yesterday.  That's a good thing!



*************************** Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Friday, September 26, 2014

What Keeps Working



I've been suffering from some intestinal bug lately, not feeling my best, but knowing that I must keep walking to be able to sleep.  It's just he way my body works.  So, my two main walking buddies are Sally and Kris.  They keep me walking even when I don't want to.  Plus, there's Lizzie, my four legged alarm clock and walking junkie.  She's always up for a walk!

Recently, Kris and I have been discovering new trails that are not far from our neighborhood.  We curse the upcoming end of Daylight Savings Time since we will then be forced to walk indoors most evenings.  There's really no safe place (where it's legal) to walk in the evening.

Kris always has her camera with us - in the form of a cellphone.  My cellphone is just for talking on and the occasional text message.  yes, there's a camera lens there, but I'm not even going to try to figure out how to upload, download, or laterally load any pix.  Not when I have a professional photographer on my walk with me!  Duh.

The picture above was taken on a rustic trail at Bluebird Park.  It's about five miles west of my neighborhood.  There are more trails there that need 'inspection'.  It was this park a few weeks or months ago that we found a box tortoise on a walk.  I keep looking for that guy, but he's hiding out now and hibernating as the earth cools and the days become shorter.

There's no getting around the fact that for me, walking is an important component of my physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.  A day without a walk is like a day without sunshine.  And, I love the sunshine!




*************************** Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Where Would You Prefer To Walk?

Are you a city kid?  Do you prefer dusty country roads?  What about wooded trails and natural habitats?  How about sculpture on your walks?  Bikes, strollers, skaters?  Alone, with a buddy, or on a path filled with others?  A beach?  A river side trail?  Blacktop, cinders, mulch, mud, or rocks?

Everyone is likely to have a preference.  Mine would be a wooded trail, not too rugged, with no bikers or strollers.  It would be a trail wide enough for my 2 legged and 4 legged walking buddies to walk with me.  There would be no boom boxes or cigarette smoke, no speed racers, and no snakes.
There would be a lot of shade and a gentle breeze on a bug-free afternoon.  Bugs rule out sunset walks on wooded trails.  If you haven't experienced those buggy trails at sunset, stay away.  There would be a stream running nearby so we could see and hear the water from time to time.  Deer, squirrels, and rabbits would be squawked at by the birds we bother with our presence.  It would always be Spring with low humidity and plenty of sun and cloud, overcast on the sunniest day.

I can dream can't I?  Can you?  Or, can you explore your environs to find a trail, path, or sidewalk that brings you joy when you walk?  I didn't discover all the wonderful places I find to walk in the first week or even year that I dedicated myself to walking.  At first, I was confined to sidewalks in my neighborhood.  Then, I branched out to the golf cart trails on icy winter days at a golf course not far from my house.  From there, I began trying park trails.  My dog and I found our way through all kinds of paths and weather.  We walked on dark, dreary, bitterly cold winter days when she was healthy.  By Summer, she was reluctant to walk so much and it became clear that she was ailing.  She wanted to walk but had no stamina.  After her death, I continue to walk and sometimes cried while I recalled how much she had enjoyed walking with me.  My beloved Jasmine.



Now, Lizzie is my 4 legged buddy and we are adopting another, perhaps older dog, Shawnee.  Lizzie is 8 and has been confined to 1 mile walks in summer heat, but on cooler days, she's frisky and anxious to strut through the entire 3, 4, or 5 miles.  She has no idea how old she is!  Isn't that wonderful.  Think about it.  No worries about getting old.  No thoughts of what might befall her.  No fear.  Just pure joy when she gets on the leash.  Her preference is to walk anywhere I'm willing to take her!  Pure, pure joy.  I hope Shawnee will feel that way too.

So, where would you prefer to walk?  If you haven't found the right place yet, don't give up.  The right trail, path, or sidewalk is out there, just waiting for you to find it.  Don't give up.  It's worth the time - and, in case you didn't notice, while you're trying to find that perfect venue, you'll be walking the whole time.  Go for it!







*************************** Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.