Well Worn Paths

It was hot yesterday, and I’ve been feeling very lethargic, but I decided that I had to get outside and take a walk. I have learned that there is something curative about walking, an actual physiological effect, and I always feel better once I get started. It’s a soothing, natural motion for me.

Even in childhood, I had an expansive idea of what a reasonable walking distance was, which may have been a trait I inherited from my mother, who used to drag me along with her all over the city. Once in a while we’d take the subway or hop on a trolley, but mostly we were on foot, and the radius of our wanderings was pretty impressive. Our feet strode along the sidewalks of Flatbush Avenue, the wooden slats of the Coney Island boardwalk, the leafy paths of Prospect Park. I think walking was my mother’s therapy, much as it has become mine.

But as ungrateful as it sounds, walking the same old routes can get kind of boring, even in an area as lovely and special as this, especially if my brain is in a muddle, as it has been, and especially when the sun is beating down on parched grasses and the whole world seems to be glaring and glowering.

But maybe the glaring and glowering is coming from me. I’ve been frustrated and disillusioned lately, and not connecting well with other humans, and I haven’t been effective at redirecting my negative energy into meaningful action. Yesterday in fact I really just wanted to run away, to be somewhere else entirely.

Nevertheless I donned my hat and stomped around outside, and I can’t say that I came home happy, but I did return more energized, counter-intuitive though it sounds, and more focused, much clearer about what is bothering me. I stared down at the dry brown ground and the familiar curve of road, calmed and reassured by the monotony of it all. And I was very sweaty.

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