Archive for July, 2018


July 19, 2018

What survival skill costs nothing and is good for you? Walking.  Almost anyone can do it.   I love to walk.  I have an active dog.  Plus walking is part of one of my jobs.  I probably walk 30 miles a week.  Some days I feel like I could walk clear cross country.

Walking helps with all kinds of stuff.  It keeps you limber and helps with your balance.  Improving both will prevent you from falling.  If you walk in all kinds of weather it’s even better for your balance, trying to keep your footing with slipping feet.  You can lose some weight.  If you walk at a brisk pace it will help with your breathing and cardiovascular output.

If your car breaks down, or the commuter rail stops, you can walk yourself to your destination.   If you don’t walk further than your car to your house you better hope that you don’t have to walk for real some day.  All healthy adults should be able to cover ten miles a day walking.

Another thing I like about walking is that I see much more than when I’m driving or even biking.  Trust me there a lots of hills and valleys you don’t even know are there when you are in a car.  When you are walking you notice every slope.  Little streams and culverts that run along the road that you don’t know existed will appear when you move slowly.   You’ll see plants and animals.  You’ll hear wildlife and your neighbors fighting or loving.  You’ll smell the curry coming from that house and see what artwork she has hanging on her living room wall over in the other house.

You will be able to put together a much more accurate mental map of your surroundings by walking rather than driving.  You’ll get to know your neighbors and other people.   That’s a big one.  When you’re driving you don’t say hi to anyone.  When you walk you get to know people.  Walking makes your neighborhood safer.  I always make mental notes of what plants and wildlife I see.  Just yesterday as I was walking I kept munching on blueberries and blackberries.

Anyone who has spent much time outdoors will tell you the best way to see stuff is to stop.

Walking makes you tougher.   Your muscles will become firmer.  Your lungs bigger.  If you walk in weather you’ll grow accustomed to bad weather.  I walk no matter the weather.  When you’re sitting inside looking outside there’s lots of reasons not to take a walk.  Once you get out there and moving around it won’t be as bad as you thought it would be.  The weather is always worse from the inside looking out than it is once outside.  You won’t melt from the rain or freeze from the snow.  If you want to upgrade try to carry some weight in a backpack.  That will make your walks more productive.

Sprinkle a walk into your life.   Take the stairs whenever you can.  Rather than driving on your errands, take a walk.  Bring a backpack with you for your purchases.  Don’t circle the lot like a space shark.  Have no fear; park further away and walk.    You’ll save some gas and wear and tear on your chariot.

Make sure that you have decent shoes.  If you are able to walk on a surface other than pavement do it.  If you walk at night please don’t wear dark colors.  Please bring a flashlight with you.  Stay hydrated.   For safety’s sake don’t wear your headphones.  Please put you cell phone away.  Have some situational awareness and enjoy all the world has to offer.   My cell phone philosophy – we do stuff.  When we’re doing something and we stop in order to check our phones we’re leaving whatever it is that we’re doing.  A cell phone is the farthest thing from living in the moment.  Every time you look at your phone it takes you out of the moment.  Anything on your phone can wait for your walk to end.

Don’t wait to walk until you have to.


This is sassafras.  Notice the leaves.  Can you smell the leaves?  There are leaves that look like a ghost kind of with scary arms going ‘boo’.  Then there are leaves that look like a mitten.  If you look at the above picture you can see that the bark is relatively smooth.  Around here the plants don’t grow too big, much above 15 feet, I’d venture.  I have two uses for sassafras.  I make tea from the young roots.  It’s a nice tasty rooty earthy tea.  I like it sweetened.  You can also take the leaves and dry them out and mash them into a powder and use them as a thickening agent.  That powder is called file’ powder and they use it to thicken gumbos.