Peggy likes to walk. I like to walk. We’re past the days of serious ‘hiking’ but probably the fun-est thing we do is to walk — together.
That might sound a bit ‘odd’ — I mean, it’s not like we’re tottering oldsters who don’t know how to have fun. But our kind of walking isn’t about getting places. Let me share….
First, my recent ankle problems have taken a little toll; we’re walking less than normal. I’m not back to fine form — more soreness in the soft tissue of the right arch than discomfort in the ankle itself. Every day I do a little more. We’re keeping the cane in the coach but I’m haven’t been using it for a couple weeks now. And, we’re gradually working back up to our typical wanderings.
I wish we had a word in English that could describe what we find so much fun. For us, walking is not about distance; not about the accomplishment of some goal. The French have a word that fits precisely: flȃner. But the translations are all over the board: to dawdle, go for a stroll, loiter, lol about, lounge, saunter, stroll – still, it’s closer than any English word I can think of.
We talk more while walking than doing anything else. Somehow the forward motion greases our conversational gears and words flow in ways different than any other — for us. Sometimes while driving we’ll come close — maybe it’s the world whizzing past that nurtures good conversation but whatever it is, it works for us.
Don’t picture two people walking down a city street stopping at shop windows and window gazing. I often thing that for us, where we are is irrelevant — it’s the being together and doing things together that is everything.
Before we married, Peggy had a poem which has lingered in the back of our minds for all our married life. We can’t find it anymore. Even doing an a search of the Interwebs wasn’t successful. But it’s about they way, when you are walking that you are enabled by your slow progress to notice the things around you with more awareness than you might if you were zipping by on a bike, or in a car, or from the sky in an airplane. The poem ends with the words, “…to walk is the way of a pilgrim.”
As Christians this world has never been our home, and the concept that we are but pilgrims and strangers in it has never dulled, never been forgotten, never altered. We love the life we have but we are looking for that day Christians have prayed about for 2000 years:
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy Will be done,
As it is in Heaven.
The reason for this deviation into religion is simply to explain why we view ourselves as pilgrims rather than citizens.
Citizens take their rights for granted; we try not to do that. Citizens assert themselves; perhaps that’s one of the reason that I find it uncomfortable when people appreciate my work. I feel more like an ambassador on foreign soil than than a citizen in my own country.
The end result is that we move slowly through the landscape. We’ve always taken time to watch the critters; looking for the frogs, the birds, the beavers, the deer — and each time we find them it’s a special treat; as if it’s something we didn’t have coming, hadn’t earned. Each and every time they are special blessings, a boon. And as a result for us they are something to be happy, thankful about.
As people have left early because of the Shad flies, and as others have been grumpy and out of sorts because the ‘holiday’ they had hoped for didn’t happen — I find it difficult to understand why such a small thing as a few days of bad weather should change how someone feels. Or why a few (ok, a LOT of critters) should change how someone feels. Why do people let someone else — or circumstance — determine how they are going to feel? ANY DAY RV’ing is better than a day working. Heck, even the days when we are holed up INSIDE Serendipity, are wonderful days. And the days we can get out and walk, those are even better days.
Let me go back to walking for a moment. Remember those attempts at defining flȃner: to dawdle, go for a stroll, loiter, lol about, lounge, saunter, stroll. None of them are about objective. Quite often we’ll get up in the morning and go for a walk. Not to go anywhere, just to hold hands, enjoy the fresh air, listen to the birds or whatever animals might be present, and simply enjoy. Buddhists sit and meditate — we go for a walk. Before we went RV’ing there were times we even got back out of bed at 1 or 2 a.m. and went for a walk around the neighborhood — just because we could. That special stillness that is nighttime sometimes provides just the needed break to make a breakthrough in a line of thought, or to help work through a plan that’s not coming together, or just to listen to the crickets.
I don’t know what you do for pleasure while you’re RV’ing — or while you’re living at home. I’m not talking about going for a hike, or completing a project. Something that simply gives you pleasure without accomplishing anything.
I’m sure there are people who don’t ever do something just for pleasure. One couple here at the Causeway seems only to have a single purpose in life. Every single time we have passed their RV they have been polishing their car and 5th wheel. That’s going on 5 days now, and they are in the part of the park where the Shad Flies don’t even go. The critters are pretty much limited to the first 40 feet from the shoreline of the Mississippi River. These folks are a good 1/4 mile inland.
Everyone has a right to live their life as they see fit. I’m glad they take pride in how their truck and 5th wheel look. But I wonder whether they stop taking pride and simply enjoy. I hope so. I want to preserve the value of my RV, and I think I do a reasonable job. Whether my RV is shiny enough to shave by my reflection doesn’t really matter to me. And I guess I don’t care all that much whether other people are impressed by our coach. It just makes me wonder what joy some people have.
As we have gotten a little older we find we prefer to walk in less than hilly locales. I guess that was one of the drawbacks — for us — of Oregon. It’s hard to find flat places to walk. There are a lot of hiking trails, but not so many places for walkers. That’s one of the nice parts about the Midwest! 🙂
I hope we’ll be able to continue walking for a good many years. I had an uncle who made a big pretense about getting family members to take a walk with him after a holiday meal. But he never did the same at home. He happened to be the one family member with whom the others were likely to have an argument — I have often thought that was his way of creating a neutral environment where argument would not be the result and a little pleasant camaraderie might result. I should have asked him before he passed.
I’m impressed by other campers — whether RV’ers or not — who make a point of staying active and mobile. I see them walking with walkers, and cane, a lot of folks now seem to walk with a pair of ski-poles — whatever it takes to keep your balance and give you the confidence to get out and walk. I know more than one or two folks who feel embarrassed by their reliance on a cane, or walker — but if you ask me I think they should be commended and inspire others. I hope when I am tottering along and unsure of my footing that I’ll keep on walking, walker and all.
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.