Blessedly, walking has always been a part of my life. In elementary school, since we went home for lunch, I walked back and forth to school twice a day. Also, my playmate and I invented a game called “The Left Right Walk.” We started out at home and took turns calling out directions such as 1 left or 2 lefts, and then the other would have a turn and call our her choice. Luckily we lived in a neighborhood with lots of streets, and in this way we roamed all over North Medford.
With another friend, probably in 6th grade, I got into lots of trouble walking five miles to my Aunt Dot’s in Cambridge and then having to call my Uncle Sam to come get us as they were already at my house in Medford.
Junior High and High School were each a little more than a mile away, and I often walked either to or from school, and sometimes both ways. The same was true for the many church activities I attended, church also being just more than a mile away. While at Tufts, especially if I saw that I had just missed the bus to Medford Square, I would walk to the Square and get the second bus home.
Once I had kids, I’d plop them in the stroller and walk to local stores or town centers. When I had grandchildren, I walked them in the stroller into town each day , except in inclement weather. Along the way strangers would stop and comment on the cute kids or just generally pass the time of day.
Verona Park in West Orange, NJ, was a favorite destination, and I love to walk anywhere in Boston, on any beach, but particularly the one in Sea Isle City, NJ. I’ve walked in rain and snow but never, if I can help it, on ice. Since moving to Hanover, NH, I have my own indoor walking space (The long halls on three floors of my apartment building) and thus never a weather excuse.) I try to walk every day, and succeed unless my life is exploding.
If this all sounds matter-of-fact and boring, trust me, it isn’t. I do some of my best thinking when walking, but also some of my best letting go of thoughts. I observe nature and people, take in the smells of the season, notice interesting and unusual things.
Last summer I did a 5K walk for charity, and I hope to make it 10K this July. I’ll need to get in better shape and step up my practice to reach that goal!
© Dorothy C. Judd
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