Walking: 30 Days of Gratitude, Day 16

Day 16: I am grateful for my walks.

As a child I walked across our suburban town many times, either to the park, the pool, or to and from school. Even in freezing cold weather, or while getting caught in the sudden change of winds in the spring, I gave little thought to my daily mode of transportation; I just walked–sort of unconsciously, to get to and from home.

Then I grew up and moved to a more rural area.

Then, in the summer of 1993, my oldest brother suffered a massive brainstem stroke.

He never walked again.

Trying to cope with the tragedy, speechless and heartbroken over my brother’s paralysis, I began to walk with hot tears in my eyes one day that summer.

I thought, if he can’t walk, I will walk for him.

My big brother, who taught me how to ride a bike.

Once I began that first walk, when I felt so aimless, so crushed…

It seemed I couldn’t stop.

I walked, and I walked.

I walked for hours.

I walked for miles.

I watched the sun going down.

My brother got a wheelchair. It was electric, and he moved it forward and back with the one finger he still had movement in.

I walked to cope.

My walks became my prayer.

My meditation.

When I taught, I often planned lectures, class discussions, assignments, and exams while walking.

I did a lot of thinking and I accomplished a lot.

All while walking.

I processed what was going on at work, in my marriage, with my friendships, in my heart and soul.

I did a lot of wondering.






I did a lot of writing in my head.

When I parented, I escaped to the woods when the kids became teenagers and too tough to handle.

When they were children, I took my kids on nature walks.

The woods became a friend to me.

I listened to the birds call, and I watched the buzzards circle.

I saw an eagle or two.

I caught great glimpses of deer.

Before long, there wasn’t any place I felt more comfortable than in the woods.

More free.

More myself.

I even felt safe. A sense of belonging.

One time, I walked all day long.

When I suffered a super duper humdinger of a concussion in 2007, I could not walk any more.

It was a paralysis of sorts.

I didn’t walk for too many years.

And when I walked, I stumbled.

And I fell.

Today, at last, I walk again.

Yet, I walk more slowly…quite a bit more slowly…

But I am back to walking again.

It feels frustrating to have lost the heart and lungs and muscles I grew so familiar with…

My heart and lungs and muscles…

Not these new compromised ones.

But I have no choice.

They’ve changed.

But the slow has allowed me to

Add picture taking to my walks.

This takes the sting away

Of the slow pace.

And so, today,

At least for today….

I have no choice

But to rejoice:

I rejoice in walking.

I love to walk.

I take everyone I know on a walk–anyone, that is, who will go.

My husband and I walk the dog.

I am teaching our granddaughter to enjoy being outside..

to love the walk.

emerson woods

How do you feel about walking?

Do you love it?

Here is a song about walking by John Prine.

He is someone who knows.


I am so grateful for my walks.

Walking will enrich your world.

Walking enriches my life.


Take a ten minute walk today.

You will not regret it.


© debra valentino, www.firstlightofevening.com, all rights reserved

8 thoughts on “Walking: 30 Days of Gratitude, Day 16

  1. Such a touching post! I love to walk too. I feel like I’m at my most creative when I walk. It helps me think, unwind, create. Walking is special 🙂

  2. Walking has been my favorite mode of transportation. It is the time that I get more exercise, physically, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically. This is such a heart-breaking yet inspiring story. Thank you.

  3. Thank you, Amanda. I admit your comment choked me up. It is heartbreaking to see a sibling suffer. I miss my brother so much. Thank you for stopping by Stumbler.

  4. Wow, this was such a powerful message. Brought tears to my eyes. My brother was born with physical disabilities and never walked — I think of him often when I run. Thank you so much for sharing this story.

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