I’ve fallen in love with my commute.
I walk. It’s just under two kilometers. It’s through a park and over a bridge. It’s beautiful.
Walking to work doesn’t happen much anymore. We drive—mostly. Even walking to school is something that doesn’t happen for the children like it did when we were young. We’ve created a world in which the places we go daily are not close to home. We drop our kids off because school is too far. We drive our selves because work is also too far. The process of the daily journey has changed. Total bummer.
If we recall our youth, it was on the walks to school that we made friends, standing on the corners where we’d have to go in different directions. Standing there too long wrapping up stories from the day. Gossiping about events. We’d noticed neighbors and even notice the day—warm, cold, wet windy, hot. We were weathermen as children. It was lovely.
Somehow through the daily walks to school we toughened up to the elements and to life. Sometimes big kids were mean. Sometimes we walked with small children and became leaders. Sometimes sketchy slow moving cars rolled by and we walked a bit faster. Sometimes the walks were scary and we’d run our little legs home as fast as we could.
I remember people placing “block parent” signs in their windows back then to let us know that if there was trouble we could knock on their door for help. It was a different time.
I spent most of my career hitting the snooze bar too much and then flying out of bed with an out loud FUCK! There would be a flurry of crazy panic and rush, throwing things into a book bag, leaping into my car and zipping in and out of traffic all the way to work. Not a fun commute. GROSS.
I’ve changed. Thank God! My mornings are nurturing and relaxed. I try and walk every day. I meander through the neighborhood, past the houses of the families whose children go to the school where I work. I notice the homes and their details, the wild plants popping on the other side of fences, who shovels and who doesn’t. I see the dogs in the windows or the yards.
I change up the route, just because—you know—I want to look at something else. There’s one house that seasonally changes what they hang on their tree. It’s lovely. In the fall I watched a descent of woodpeckers in the park almost daily popping from the trees to the ground, likely filling up for winter. They were beauties with their red tops and they were also devilishly good at hiding every time I brought out my camera.
I’ve watched the leaves change color and I’ve watched the water in the creek halt and freeze and top with a blanket of ice and snow. Now I see the foot prints of the critters that scurry across.
I’m not sure how long I’ll be working somewhere close enough to walk but for now I will take advantage of every day I can—because, well, just because I want to enjoy all the minutes and all the fresh air.
If 2020 has taught me something it would be gratitude for the simple pleasures.