Watch Your Step!

Tom's shoes, walkingI observe people wearing their Fitbit bands and silently smirk. Who needs to count their steps, for heaven’s sake?

Just walk, run, dance, skip, jump….MOVE.

But when my daughter asks me what I want for my birthday, I point to the beautiful Fitbit-like bracelet she wears on her wrist. It’s a thin elegant gold band with a large moonstone in the center and a tiny crystal on either side. Continue reading

Marching Along . . .

There once was a girl who could write
Her words were full of insight
She tried a limerick
That fell like a brick
But her stories floated like light. 

Minuteman Park, Concord MAIn March, I still don’t usually like to walk in the morning.

Even though I’m a walker.

I don’t hike or run, trot or dawdle. I walk for miles for the majesty of . . . walking.

No little music plugs; instead I keep my ears open for the sound of the woodpecker and the hawk, the trill of the mocking bird and the taunt of the squirrel. I listen to the scrunch of the leaves, the low roar of the plane above me, and the soft slap of my shoes on wooden bridge and wooded path. Continue reading

Looking Straight Up

globe, world, bloggingIn celebration of my 190th post today, I’m re-blogging my first one. I began with 0 followers, but I had the germ of an idea of imparting my little flashes of “life” and insights to anyone who might stop by. A little more than 3 1/2 years later,  through my writing I have shared experiences and perceptions with thousands of you thoughout our world, including the U.S., England, and Ireland; South Korea and South Africa ; Chile and Indonesia;  Spain and India, and dozens of countries in between. THANK you for joining me on this mutual voyage of discovery.

I was walking on a newly discovered path when a white piece of paper fluttered down toward my face, Tennesse Valley, Marin Countyseemingly out of nowhere.  Strange, I mused, continuing to stride quickly and purposefully.  I had hit the timer on my athletic watch, and was determined to walk briskly and beautifully to the end of the path and back until the timer dinged after sixty minutes. Continue reading

Cell Phone Abuse and Miracles

My early morning walking view, with eyes straight ahead.

My early morning walking view, with eyes straight ahead.

Many of you know that I delight in the early morning joy of walking my heart out, and my lungs and my muscles. This week, during my normal 7 a.m. routine of walking the S.F. bay area shoreline with my four-legged companion, Henry, I note that I see more top-sided humans than I used to (compared to, say, a few years ago).

walking with cell phone, texting

Top-sided human, eyes down to cell phone.

Remember when, back in the day, people strolled the neighborhood – sidewalks or nearby hills – and nodded to one another as they passed, maybe even calling out a cheery, “good morning,” or “so good to see you out and about, Mr. Brown!” Well, no more niceties now during the Age of Cell Phone Abuse. Nearly everyone has their heads turned down to their cell phone, to… what? Peruse the latest e-mail from a friend? Read their newspaper, check out the gossip on Facebook, twitter a quote to a stranger?    But look what they’re missing right in front of their noses, if they’d only pull their noses, and eyes, front and center. In the early morning mist, pelicans cavort like babies in a bouncy house, racing back and forth, diving deep down and then soaring upward, to savor the school of visiting herring. 

dog, golden retriever, walking along San Francisco Bay

Henry, chuckling.

A woman with her two little bichons passes me and my big monster of a dog (to a bichon, an 11-year-old golden is a big bad scary beast). The white furry animals bark like seals in heat (and yes, I know that sound, since in the spring I hear the randy seals by the bay shore rocks, barking away).

The embarrassed woman gets out her big guns, a spray bottle, and I hear the swish swish of water aimed at her doggies as Henry and I leap by. I swear Henry’s head twirls toward them, chuckling at their humbling discipline.

And then there’s the man sitting in his car at the depot museum parking lot, reading his newspaper, which is propped up over his steering wheel.  I notice him almost every morning, and make up a story. His wife kicked him out, again, and he’s getting his early morning coffee and front page read before he goes back home and asks for forgiveness, again. When my imaginings are more creative, he’s a C.I.A. agent who knows that soon a spy for the ‘other side’ will be passing secrets at any minute, here, in front of the bay and the pelicans and the seals, threatening world peace unless he’s stopped.

railroad museum, SF Bay, walking, miracles, trains

Railroad Depot Museum, at dawn.

But sometimes I just listen to my footsteps on the concrete path, tapping in exercise mode; Henry’s paws on grass, muted and happy;  the hundred pelican wings swishing in harmony, ethereal and magical; tiny dogs barking in the background and a woman’s soft voice chastising, “quiet now, quiet.” Swish Swish.

Can you hear those sounds, while your head is down, perusing your cell phone?

Does a tree make noise when it falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it?

What magic do we miss, when our eyes aren’t front and center of the everyday wonder occurring right in front of us every second?

I ponder these thoughts as I peer through the small museum’s windows, windows that overlook the bay and the creatures who live in and around it. To my surprise, I spy a tiny Santa’s elf, playing with the big toy trains that are tooting around and around the platform.

I snap a quick picture – will it turn out, or is he a figment of my imagination – and continue on my magical walk.

Cell phone in pocket, eyes straight ahead.

magic, Christmas, Santa's elf

Santa’s elf!

The Fear of Walking

Golden Gate Bridge, pelicans, walkingWalking scares me, yet I practice it every day.

Of course, the actual motion of moving one foot in front of the other, swinging arms, smiling at the dog by my side, feeling the cool San Francisco fog on my face and appreciating the rising rosy sun isn’t scary.

But my walking thoughts are.

What, for instance, would it be like to trade places with the pelican swaying above me right now, showing off its ability to use the power of the wind while eying me with beady distain? If I were he, and he were me, I’d ignore such a useless two-footed creature, stuck in slow motion on a hard surface at limited eye level with the grace of a tree stump.

I’d soar above the blue gray water to search for the tell-tale scaly flash and YES, point my long sharp beak straight down to smash past the wave, pelican, walkling, soul, Golden Gate Bridgegrabbing my meal in one sharp swallow.

Instead, I swallow my disappointment that, in my human form, only dry toast with some sticky peanut butter awaits my slow-footed return to home.

I wonder, if only I tried harder, I could learn the secret of how to release my lighter, brighter soul, the “it” inside of my tree stump of a body, and zoom up and away, exploring the underside of the Golden Gate Bridge, past the Farallon Islands, cross the endless miles of melodic monotonous ocean waters, mingling with the other endless souls released from bunioned toes and stalky legs.

Zap…NO! I don’t want to be released yet from these mortal coils, I scream silently, holding on to my soul like a woman holding down her hat on a too windy day. I’ll stick with the crackling knees and blistered heels, the chapped red knuckles and running nose, the stress of too little time for a deadline-heavy day, and the pang of missing family who live on the wrong coast. I want to continue enjoying the glory of the left coast with sunsets and fog horns and handheld hikes with husband along the soul-drenched waters of life.

dog, walking, San Francisco Bay, soulThe dog tugs and suddenly my thoughts are leashed to the day ahead, the bread to toast, the office desk to manage, the bills to pay, groceries to buy, phones to answer, news to digest, rugs to vacuum, and words to write.

Until tomorrow morning – and another scary walk.

What about you? How scary are YOUR walks?