Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Commitment to Walk

We live in a fast-paced society. Walking slows us down
~ Robert Sweetgall

Our walking path from home.

A couple of years ago now I make the decision to commit to walking as much as possible. This involved walking my daughter to Playgroup once a week, walking to the hairdresser, the doctor, the Post Office and later to Pre-Entry Kindy. These were occasional walks which we all enjoyed and were somewhat dependent on the weather and my ability to walk in later stages of my second pregnancy.

This year however our walking has taken on new meaning as I walk Ess to Kindy for her four mornings each week. Twice per morning I walk the paths with my baby in her stroller enjoying the outdoors. I have found that I have become somewhat of a local icon. A can't count the number of people who have spoken to me at Kindy and commented on something about my walk: "Wow you must be fit!", "I couldn't do it, I'm too lazy. I work an afternoon shift, mornings are terrible for me." Some look longingly at me and say, "I wish I lived close enough to be able to walk." Some admire my tenacity to walk rain, hail or shine. Honestly, I didn't know how I would go through winter as I am truly a cold frog but I find that we got used to it as the seasons changed. We rugged up in coats, gloves and scarves, put a cover on the stroller and we were set. We have walked every day - that shows how much rain we still need here in South Australia. A few showers were not enough to stop our morning walks - although I remember one day running the last few metres before a downpour set in.

Now it is Spring and I am still walking. I am joined however by others who have looked at me and watched me walk rain, hail or shine, deciding to join me now in the sunshine and warmer weather. I am heartened that my decision and commitment to walk, to live simply, to exercise, to avoid fuel consumption and fumes has inspired others.

Today another Kindy Mum said to me while we walked by each other, "I look at you walking and I think "I can do that!"" That's right, she can and she did. I encouraged her to continue walking - the first week is hard, you become tired - tireder than you usually are with a house of little ones. However in a little while, as my Generous Gentleman said to me "You get used to it!" You realise the benefits of it and you don't want to go back.

The benefits to me are numerous:
  • It gives me exercise.
  • It gives me the opportunity to talk with Ess face to face as we walk together rather than talking in the car for the 3 min drive.
  • It gives me space after a busy morning of rushing around preparing to leave.
  • We notice the seasons change as our path is very well planted with deciduous trees.
  • It teaches Ess that exercise is important and we need to commit to it rather than only do it when we feel like it. Even when she feels pooped, she walks home from Kindy.
  • It enables me to pack the stroller whenever I like and only once to get ready to leave, even in preparation on the night before. I then walk straight out our front door and straight into Kindy without having to get both girls (and their gear) in and out of the car.
  • It allows me to avoid the congestion of cars scrambling for car parks and dropping children off at school. Do you know, it takes me the same time from door to door whether I walk or drive due to this congestion!
A final benefit and delight to me is that I have inspired others. Who'd have thought that my choice to simply walk would change a little of this world, even if only in my small school community. I'm delighted!

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