I’m going to tell you a secret: I hate to exercise. Yet I recognize that it’s crucial to maintaining quality of life, especially at my advanced age. So, I either dance, or I go to the gym, or I walk. But when I exercise, I need a distraction so that I can forget I’m doing something I hate. Luckily, I love to dance, and if I take a fitness class, the other participants provide an interesting diversion. But if I’m hitting the machines, or I’m walking, I at least need my iPod to make it bearable.
Back in the 90s, I didn’t have a gym membership, so I walked most mornings on a canal path that passed my children’s elementary school. Often, I caught a glimpse of one of my little darlings at recess. While I walked, I listened to cassette tapes of the books of the Bible on my Walkman.
Since I started my blog, I often bring my camera along, in case I see something that would make an attractive illustration. One day I left it home, thinking I’d already seen everything there is to see along the way. That was a mistake—I missed two or three great shots.
I’m working my way through poemcrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldrigdge in my effort to write a poem a day. One of her suggestions is to take a poetry walk, bringing a notebook and pen along to jot down any ideas that come. So on my next walk, I brought a steno notebook and, to my surprise, filled nearly a page with observations that I could develop into a poem.
Here’s one that resulted from that poetry walk:
January in Arizona
“You don’t need your jacket,” he says.
“I want my jacket,” I reply.
My jacket pleases me (I think to myself),
Hot pink and fleecy.
Besides, we just had a hard freeze—
Frost on the roof and the car rear window.
The neighbors’ bushes wear quilts.
I embark on my walk.
After a block, my jacket unzips.
After three blocks, the jacket comes off.
How will I carry it
So the keys don’t tumble out of my pocket?
I could turn around and drop it at home,
But then he’d say, “I told you so.”
So I hold it right-side-up,
Ever vigilant for the jangling of escaping keys.
The path is dotted with wildflowers,
Emboldened by the sudden warmth,
Speculating that spring has arrived.
The bougainvillea blaze red;
Were those blooms there yesterday?