‘Solitary’ walks

Published 10:00 am Sunday, June 16, 2024

Living in the city has afforded us a luxury that we continue to appreciate — a variety of quiet, shady streets for walking. I’ve known for years that Othel and I needed to make a habit of walking/exercise, but there were hindrances.

We had sufficient concrete and pavement around our home, but the vertical climb up our hill was a doozie! That incline made excuses come easy. Then there were the dive-bombing deer flies that forgot about the deer and chased me. Highway 30 was a smooth, straight walkway in our front yard, but trucks and cars thought the smooth, straight highway was for speed. Walking along its shoulders was a walk “on the wild side!”

A trip to and from town to the HealthPlex was another choice, but the traveling to and from consumed the time I needed to spend exercising. That option was too time-extravagant for our early morning schedules.

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Now there are no excuses except for the muggies that all Mississippians endure. Othel con-fronts that obstacle by walking early when the temps are cooler and neighbors are just wak-ing. You noticed I said Othel.

For a few mornings Othel invited me to walk with him. I had already observed several couples strolling down our street so I agreed to join him early. I soon learned Othel didn’t call strolling real exercise. His motto: “Pick ’em up and put ’em down!” Okay. I can do that, but the distance between my “pick ’em up and put ’em down” is about eight inches less than his.

That meant I fell behind by the first block even though my speed was the same as his. He then would have to make frequent stops, turn and wait for me to “catch up.”

“You don’t like having to stop,” I told him.

“Not really — not if we’re doing this for a workout. We need to get our heart rate up and keep it there for at least 20 to 30 minutes to work our hearts. That means I need to walk as fast as I can — with no stops.”

I was already doing that but was too out of breath to make a defense. Yes, I understood — I’m a short-step stroller, and he’s a long stride stepper. We are both convinced that couple-walking may not fit our agenda.

I’m okay with that. It simply increases my appreciation of God’s nearness. As I take my “soli-tary” walks, I pray and rejoice in the truth that I don’t have to run after Him. As I draw near to God, He draws near to me — and “solitary” isn’t a word any believer has to use. 

Letters to Camille Anding may be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602.