Walk With Me
When I started out on my walk yesterday, I saw a man further up the road, walking in the same direction as I was going. He was using a walking stick and going more slowly than I was and I saw that I was gaining steadily on him. No problem, I figured. I’ll say hello and cruise on past — but the situation changed when I realized it was my accordion playing neighbor. When I reached him, we were just about to his house and I expected him to turn into his driveway but instead he said, “I’ll go on some more and walk along with you.” As much as I enjoy this man — and I do — anyone who reads my stuff regularly knows that this situation is often the bane of my walking. I like to think, compose, listen to audio books or sing — in my head and sometimes out loud — as I cover a couple of miles every day. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that and so we walked — he, stumping along with his walking stick and I, slowing my pace to accommodate his. Once again, it was a learning experience. Lesson number one: It isn’t necessary that I be on a forced march every time when I walk. A walk doesn’t have to be exercise and I won’t immediately lose my level of conditioning if on some days I don’t raise my heart rate to the status of fitness fanatic. Lesson number two: Everyone’s got something to say and it’s mind-expanding for me to discuss issues and discover the thoughts of people with whom I don’t ordinarily do that. We may differ in ideas and ideals but deep down, we all seem to have pretty much the same fears and goals. Lesson number three: It’s a compliment when a nice person assumes it’s okay to spontaneously join me for a stroll. Sometimes I’m a slow learner.