When I feel nuttier than a peanut, walking cracks my neurotic shell. Endless walks, whether in the snow, rain or heat, relaxes me. I’ve been avid walker, since my teenage hood.
Riverside, circa 1998-
Man-made birds flew over suburban homes, nestled on hills. They hid behind the mountain ranges, but quickly re-appeared. Longingly, I stared into the blue skies, which were tainted with brown from smog.
“If only that man-made bird could sweep me away from suburban monotony.” Soon after, the man-made bird disappeared into a few of the cotton balls, which ravaged the sky. I was not rescued. My feet were still planted on the concrete, which I dread most.
Sulking a bit, I pressed on with my strolls. Birds chirped. Dogs barked. The hazy sounds of cars zooming through the freeway haunted souls. In the midst of serenity, my imagination escaped.
The little houses were capsules of charm. I pictured scenes from a Norman Rockwell painting. Families gathered for a scrumptious steak dinner, with mash potato and apple pie, every night. Senior citizens playing bridge, having (the television show) Jeopardy on full blast. While teenagers listened to No Doubt, contemplating their grand escape into stimulation land.
Strolling in sunny Southern California came with an unexpected perk. There were always plenty of men enjoying the outdoors. It was the land of the hyper/alpha male. Guys fixed their cars. They washed their trucks, shirtless. Football posters hung like fine museum pieces, inside the garage.
I had so much in common with theses burly men (insert sarcasm). Secretly, I wished they were gay or at least had a phenomenal show tunes collection. My gut would tell me, they were more into Tupac Shakur than “A Chorus Line: the original Broadway score.” Regardless, it was excellent motivation to walk and breathe-in tidbits of fresh air. Walking, both relaxed and stimulated my mind. Hello, endorphins.
I enjoyed imagining life as a Norman Rockwell painting. Oh, and shirtless guys aren’t a bad thing, either. Eventually, I was captured by one of those gigantic man made birds. It flew me to the east. I found a quiet nest to call my own in Manhattan.
Walking around New York, I had a more jaded impression of life. I didn’t quite have the Norman Rockwell cheerful outlook, while peering into lit apartment blocks. “What was really behind the fanciful façade?” Despite questioning everything about life, my walks always perked up dreary thoughts.
Then, I fell ill. My zest for walking deteriorated. Crowds were overwhelming. Pavements had terrible effects of stress. Smells of garbage, bakery goods, and fuel disrupted the aroma of pleasant thoughts. I was cooped up in my nest, unable to rid myself of the blues.
While vying for a Sir Laurence Olivier worthy performance, my brain exploded. It exploded with art, naturally. I drew. I wrote. I read many great novels and short stories. The grey clouds met their match. Art transformed my soul. I still needed to force myself out of bed and face the world’s vibrant hues.
By summer, New York was steaming. I made my walking comeback. My legendary long walks had returned. The stimulation further awakened my artistic soul. The gloominess faded faster. Some days were tough, but I eventually regained energy.
I schvitz. I freeze. I don’t ever mind seeing a shirtless guy. More importantly, I get my best ideas, while walking. Whether I’m in a quiet hillside suburb or trying not to loose patience, navigating Midtown (trying not to scream my lungs out from people traffic), a good walk is always beneficial. So let’s all sing Kumbaya, eat granola, and join me on another exciting edition of “I love walking.”