Imaginary walking

This quiet wooded trail runs directly behind our town home in Alexandria.

This quiet wooded trail runs directly behind our town home in Alexandria.  May 2014

“One kind of walking which I do not recall seeing mentioned anywhere in the literature of the subject is imaginary walking.” Edwin V. Mitchell

This post is for Bindu, who took me on an imaginary walk via her blog almost a year ago.

A couple of  weeks ago when Matt and I had been at the hospital most of the day for his post-operative check-ups and testing, I came in and glanced at the blog comments quickly before dinner and walking.

I noticed Bindu had remarked that she hasn’t been able to enjoy walking as much lately, so I decided I would take her along on my walk — in my imagination, of course — and take some photos to send to her.  The late afternoon atmosphere was PERFECT, not too hot and not too cool, only a faint breeze, and the birds were out celebrating in grand style.

There are a few twists and turns, but it's mostly the same scenery.

There are a few twists and turns, but it’s mostly the same scenery.

The actress Diane Keaton came with us too, via her self-narrated audiobook Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty, but her stream-of-consciousness chat about the nature of beauty was only playing for part of the walk.  The rest of the time, we listened to the gorgeous music of the birds.  I wished I had been able to take a video so you could hear how pretty they sounded, but alas! the memory card in my camera was too full for a video.

It's wonderfully cool here, even on hot days, and dogs and joggers love to run here.

It’s wonderfully cool here, even on hot days, and dogs and joggers love to run here.

In any case, here are the photos, and I conveniently neglected to picture any of us — so you can put yourself in the picture, and come along. After all, imaginary walks can be taken again and again, and you can bring anyone you want!

If you are unable to get outside for a real walk today, try taking an imaginary one.  You can have music, an audiobook, the sound of birds, or just blissful silence.  You can have mountains or trees or beaches or snow or an ever-changing vista with all of the above.  Imaginary walks are great fun!

One year ago today:

A walk will do more good

24 Comments

  1. My main physical activity in retirement is walking and hiking. I spend a good amount of time outside, whether it’s the 65 acres of the Oregon Zoo or the coastal paths in Astoria or Cannon Beach. I’m always walking somewhere so I’ve managed to stay mobile at 65 with diabetes and high blood pressure. Now if I could just lose 50 pounds and keep it off. 🙂

    • Bob, that weight-loss challenge gets more and more formidable with age. I vacillate between giving up on it and giving it a sincere effort. But the bottom line is, if you can remain active and mobile, you are doing pretty well. I remind myself of that from time to time when the scales are NOT my friend. I think being outdoors and being active is helpful on all levels – not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally. I find that dieting or other weight loss attempts are often frustrating and depressing; not so with being outside. So that is worth prioritizing, in my opinion.

      • I explained to my new doctor that it has been proven that stress kills. It’s stressful for me to test my blood sugar 3 times a day. I weighed in at 265 my final year of high school. That was 1967. I weighed in during my physical last week at 265. Every doctor I’ve ever had has harped about the need to drop 75 pounds to get to some “ideal” weight for my age. The same goes with my blood pressure. I don’t get on a scale, measure my blood pressure or stick my fingers any longer. I’d rather die happy in my sleep thank you. 🙂

        • Bob, I really believe what some doctors and other “experts” now say about people having a “set point” for weight, that is very difficult to change permanently. Moreover, some studies show it’s the back-and-forth that does more damage than the supposed extra weight, to begin with. I’m not overweight by any standard, but I more now than I ever have in my life (even when I was 9+ months pregnant). Based on what you say, it sounds as if you have done well at maintaining your weight. I too found the constant checking of blood levels to be too stressful. Since I made fairly radical changes in my diet, my blood levels dropped and after several tests that come back OK, I no longer check at all unless I’m feeling sick. My doctor does a yearly A1C on me and if that’s OK, I’m happy. So I think you are on the right track. When I was first told I had Type 2 diabetes, I told Jeff I would eliminate lots of things from my diet, but there were some things I would not give up. I said the exact same thing you wrote here – “I want to die happy.” 😀 So far, so good.

  2. This has made my day. 🙂
    Today was a hot day, made worse by the unexpected visit by some gov. officials. And I was badly in need of some rest.
    So I am just back from this walk – I could experience everything on the trail through my imagination. The ‘cool’ pictures opened to me even the minute details, again, in my imagination. I feel so fresh, but that is real. Thanks a ton, Julia. 🙂

    • Thanks to YOU, Bindu, for inspiring this walk! I got the idea from your lovely post, and when you said you were not able to walk as often, I just knew I needed to take you with me that nice cool evening. I’m so glad you enjoyed it as much as I did! 😀

  3. Thanks for the stroll Julia. Some places a wheelchair just can’t go. But, the imagination knows no bounds.
    -Alan
    p.s. When you can; go to my wordpress blog for a Memorial Day post. Appreciate your time.
    At amlifcar41.wordpress.com

    • Alan, I am so glad you enjoyed the stroll! I am thankful for technology which allows equal access to so many worlds. Thanks for the link to your Memorial Day post. I have one coming up tomorrow. I had never heard that quote from Chesterton – it’s very good. Also I enjoyed the poem you included and the reminders you give us of those we should never forget. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us this Memorial Day weekend.

  4. raynard

    Julia( in my Late Rod Sterling from Twlight Zone voice) Imagine as you are walking thru a enchanted forest , then the theme music from”Captain Kangaroo and Alfred Hickcock’s Pysho” starts playing in the background. You dismiss”Jaws because there is no ocean around and you get “seasick when you see water on TV.. At last you calm your deepest fears as you renact” the scene from Blazing Saddles”, The French Mistake lol. be encouraged and blessed and have a good day..

    • Raynard, that was certainly one of the most unusual Virtual Walks I have ever been on! Captain Kangaroo and Psycho are an interesting combination. Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My! 😀

  5. Nice visuals and thoughts. What a blessing to have a walk like this. Feel like I was there. I, too, am blessed with plenty of walking paths, nothing planned. But 200 acres of farmland and woods behind me provides an abundance of my own well-worn paths, which sometimes require wearing mud boots! A walk always does the mind, body, and spirit good, doesn’t it?

    • Those unplanned, unpaved walks are often the best of all. I just love the walks through the English countryside I enjoy at Julia Livesey’s blog. With 200 acres, you have an abundance of walking opportunities indeed! Yes, walking is definitely the PERFECT exercise.

  6. You have a beautiful spot to walk in Julia! I do not walk much here in my urban surroundings and car-less now, I cannot get to the town belt or beach so readily.
    You are blessed in your walking ambiance!

    • Thanks Pauline, we felt so fortunate to discover this trail right behind our home. It’s a much more urban area than our York home, and normally I walk to run errands (go to the grocery, post office, pharmacy, etc.) but this trail is PERFECT when I just want to get away from everything, and especially when it’s too hot outside to enjoy walking anywhere else. One thing I really appreciate about the DC area is the abundance of parks and trails they have here. I hope that Jeff’s health will eventually allow him to explore some of them with me.

  7. What a lovely idea! I will share your virtual walk. And I am inspired to get out and walk more with Kayla, before it gets too hot.

    • Yes, San Antonio will soon be too hot for walks anytime but in the evenings…and sometimes not even then! Maybe you can take a “virtual walk” with me again when it’s TOO hot for a real one. I seem to remember finding some shady parks in San Antonio that were good for walking during the summer…

  8. Sheila

    Julia, what a perfect walk that really stirs the senses. I loved Bindu’s post, too. How nice that you honored her with your blog today. That is just a beautiful area,so tranquil. I hope there are many paths that you will explore with Jeff and Matt in the days and years ahead. I have walked so much this weekend at Willow Tree. It has been a relaxing weekend, just spending time outside, with perfect weather. Thank you for the special posts to complete this holiday weekend. 🙂

    • Sheila, you’re welcome! I thought of you and hoped you were enjoying Willow Tree this weekend. We had lovely weather and got quite a bit of catch-up work done outside, so refreshing after all these weeks indoors and in hospitals! Hope you have a great week.

  9. LB

    The air, the exercise, the sounds that only come from being in the woods, and of course, the beauty. Lovely post, Julia!

    • Thanks LB! It was great to “see” you tonight, even if only very briefly!

  10. You inspired me. Tuesday, I “walked away” from the treadmill and did a walk through my neighbor. Exercise and meditation at the same time is a beautiful thing. Thank you for sharing.

    • Wow, this makes me very happy! Treadmills can be wonderful for those who need and use them (our son Matt has to use one as he gets too tired walking outdoors on uneven terrain) but for me there is nothing as wonderful as walking outdoors, particularly getting to know one’s own neighborhood. I am so glad you took that stroll and especially that you took the time to tell us about it! 🙂

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