I believe in walking. I walk to work everyday. Most days I walk home for lunch. In a typical day I spend about 70-80 minutes walking just less than 4 miles. When I walk I am physically in touch with my world whether it is 10 below and a blizzard or I am sweating like a pig walking up the hill in 95 degree heat. Even though I live in a state capital, I see lots of wildlife while I walk, deer and birds mostly. I see the sun rise and set. I see neighbors and stop to visit.
Walking provides a great break from the daily intrusions of e-mail, radio, television and cell phones although I do often listen to my i-pod. During my walk my mind disengages from the daily routines and I do my best thinking-the state of Montana, my employer, should pay me for walking.
It was while walking to work that I wrote the words for the toast at my daughter’s wedding. While walking to work I came up with the idea to pursue a bond issue for the purchase of open space around our city-so people would have plenty of places to walk among other things. Really difficult issues that I don’t have time to think about at work are often easily resolved during the walk to or from the office.
Walking gives me time to think about what is important in my life. I think about my wife and grown kids and how lucky we are. I think about the world my kids and soon grandkids will live in. I think about my aging parents and how we will meet their needs. I think about my brother and his family and the challenges they face. I think about how the US will fare in the World Cup.
The best vacations I have had have been walking vacations. Last year my wife and I and two friends spent 2 weeks walking from Vienna to Prague. What an incredible way to get to know another people and culture. Each year I take a weeklong backpack trip in the Grand Canyon with some friends. That week in April is a great escape from the lingering Montana winter and it beats going to a male drumming group for my money. Hiking and snowshoeing are two of my favorite recreations here at home.
Walking has become a thread that connects many of things that are most important in my life. And to top it all off walking is cheap, non-polluting and helps keep me in shape so I can do more walking.
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