Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘walking’

091818-witch-flies-over-moon

I’m still getting used to having an iPhone and was surprised to learn that my new one was counting my steps. When my husband told me that in Japan, walking 10,000 steps a day is considered ideal for good health, I wondered if I could manage that. At home, it means taking two constitutionals a day, a feat I doubted I would be able to keep up in the winter.

But in New York City, no problem! One day this week I walked more than 16,500 steps without thinking twice. New York is just such a fun place to walk — so much to look at, constantly entertaining. Maybe the storefronts don’t change numerous times a day, but the array of people does. And their pushcarts, fruit stands, clothes, behaviors.

People seem so uninhibited in New York that you could express your inner self to an unheard-of degree and no one would blink. Of course it’s sad that some people on the streets clearly have mental illness. But being used to living around them seems to free up New Yorkers not to care much what people think of their own behavior. I watched one guy oblivious of furiously honking rush-hour traffic and blocking a whole lane while he tried to hook a car to his shish-kebob trailer after work.

Another slammed into wet leaves on a rented Citi Bike and wiped out with a loud crash in the middle of an intersection, picked the bike up, and went on his way. If that happened where I live, it would be on the front page of the local bugle the next Thursday.

Most of what I saw happened too fast for me to get a picture, but I include a couple things that stayed still.

It’s relatively quiet to walk along Riverside Drive in the early morning, and many people and dogs do. Other people sit on the benches and read the paper or drink coffee. This worn park bench had a plaque I particularly liked. It says, “The friends of Susan G. Schwartz honor her and remember how she taught us to sit still.”

Going home today to sit still.

091918-remember-how-she-taught-us-to-sit-still

091918-New-York-car

091918-alligator-in-New-York

 

Read Full Post »

When I was 14, I went to the big city every week to live with my aunt’s family and attend school with a younger cousin.

On winter Mondays I arose in the dark. My mother drove me to the bus station, where I got on a bus with my big suitcase and my book bag — and for a while, a clarinet.

When I disembarked at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, I took a cab to school, and later in the day, I lugged the whole kit ‘n’ kaboodle on a city bus to my aunt’s apartment. That first year there were three other kids in the apartment, with another away at school.

This past Monday, I arose in the dark, put my bags in the car, and drove about the same distance as the bus ride I took Mondays at age 14 to a new job in Providence. I’m staying a couple nights a week with Suzanne’s family, which includes two children under 4. Altogether, it’s an adventure with resonance.

So far, I have only two photos to share: one of a 9/11 tile mural that every man woman and child in Providence seems to have worked on, and one of people ice skating in Kennedy Plaza. I hope to have lots more pictures, especially when I can take my walks outdoors. So far it has been too cold, and I have just walked in the mall, where the sights are not, shall we say, photogenic. I’ve been enjoying the new job and also answering questions from folks at the old job. Having handled a biggish transition when I was 14 makes the current transition feel familiar and rather comfortable.

010616-911-memorial-providence

010616-skating-kennedy-pl-providence

Read Full Post »

It’s getting chilly around here. Thirty degrees this morning. I’m getting wimpier about taking my walk outside and just go ’round and ’round indoors. I need to toughen up. The NY Times health columnist Jane Brody is older than I am and not only swims every day (vigorously, I’m sure) but walks five miles. Whoosh. I would have to walk back and forth to the high school — twice — to do five miles. It would take me half the day.

Here are photographs from the last couple weeks: shadows at the zoo, where my grandson ran into a friend he usually sees only in summer; milkweed and shadows; leaves casting shadows; an abandoned bird nest; overdevelopment reflecting on the waters of Fort Point Channel; and a burning sunset.

110815-John-at-zoo

110815-giraffes-at-Roger-Wms-Zoo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

111515-milkweed-sun-and-shadow

110715-empty-nest

 

 

 

 

 

 

110815-leaf-shadow

111715-reflecting-on-Ft-Pt-Channel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

111515-sunset-concord-MA

Read Full Post »

flowering-on-the-bike-pathI had such a nice walk on the bike path before work this morning! The sense of it kept coming back to me during the day.

The flowering cherry photo is from that walk, as are the sculptures on flagpoles that I never noticed before. I am also sharing an amble down a Boston alley near the Oyster House, a cod racing an owl on the carousel, and two rabbits pursued by an owl, a butterfly, and some kind of sea serpent that can never catch up.

I have a new Greenway photo I’ll call Heat Rising: from every new angle, the Echelman sculpture surprises.

Finally, I can tell you that the wonderfully artsy pipe resting against my neighbor’s fence is now buried under the street.

mansion-on-a-stick

fish-on-a-stick

Oyster-House-alley

owl-and-cod-on-carousel

abbits-nec-and-neck

heat-rising-in-Greenway

pipe-will-go-under-road

Read Full Post »

A New York Times blog called “Well” recently had a post on the value of a walk at lunch.

Gretchen Reynolds wrote, “A new study finds that even gentle lunchtime strolls can perceptibly — and immediately — buoy people’s moods and ability to handle stress at work.

“It is not news, of course, that walking is healthy and that people who walk or otherwise exercise regularly tend to be more calm, alert and happy than people who are inactive. But many past studies of the effects of walking and other exercise on mood have focused on somewhat long-term, gradual outcomes, looking at how weeks or months of exercise change people emotionally.”

For a new study “published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports … researchers at the University of Birmingham and other universities began by recruiting sedentary office workers at the university.

“A common problem with studies of the effect of exercise on mood, [researcher Cecilie] Thogersen-Ntoumani said, is that they rely on recall. People are asked to remember hours or days after the fact how exercise made them feel.” So participants were given a special app to record how they felt in the moment.

“On the afternoons after a lunchtime stroll, walkers said they felt considerably more enthusiastic, less tense, and generally more relaxed and able to cope than on afternoons when they hadn’t walked and even compared with their own moods from a morning before a walk.” More here.

Makes perfect sense to me. But until we get rid of some of our ice, my own lunchtime walks are indoors in South Station — under the disconcerting fish eye of the suspicious security guard.

Photo: Getty Images
I love the cobblestones here. But where I am at lunchtime may not get down to cobblestones for many, many weeks.

Read Full Post »

Photo: Thomas Ondrey/The Plain Dealer
Zumba instructor Kelly Perkins, center, leads a group dance-walking  through Shaker Heights on Friday. The local version of the craze was organized by Shaker resident Jennifer Lehner.

Mary Ann is one of Cleveland’s biggest boosters. This week she’s been posting on Facebook about a dance-walk outing she joined Friday.

Janet Cho at the Cleveland Plain Dealer interviewed dance-walk organizer Jennifer Lehner.

“The idea came out of a backyard barbecue,” Cho writes. Lehner “was chatting with her friend Karen Katz, wife of Fire Food & Drink’s Doug Katz, about the fun YouTube video where WNBC television reporter Ben Aaron convinces New Yorkers to strut their stuff with him down the city streets.

” ‘We should do that!’ Katz said.

” ‘About one hour later I went home and bought the dancewalkfitness.com domain, set up the website and the Facebook page,’ she said. ‘You know, that’s just how I roll.’ …

“Lehner envisions tying the dance-walks in with her monthly Flash Cashers events, since the group might end up having lunch at a local restaurant after the workout.

“Flash-Cashers summons consumers to descend upon a local Shaker Heights-area business to spend at least $20 each during the cash mob event, giving the merchant a welcome one-night boost and increasing awareness among residents who may never have stepped foot in the store before.” Read more at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, here.

And here is Ben Aaron, who started the whole thing.

Read Full Post »

I love the Fort Point area of Boston, across a channel from where I work. But even on a moderately stormy day, the water rises so high it threatens to overflow the banks. So the thinking behind one of the latest art installations there is no joke.

Peter Agoos’s “Tropical Fort Point” ( April 28 – June 15, 2014) is part of the the spring public art series presented by the Fort Point Arts Community Inc. Agoos says about his floating palm trees, “The struggle for quality public open space in the neighborhood and the likelihood of climate change-induced rising sea levels are the conceptual parents of Tropical Fort Point.”

There are several other new presentations around the area. “I Wandered,” by Kate Gilbert and Karen Shanley, “celebrates the joyous arrival of spring and invites you to explore the Fort Point through poetry. Large graphic daffodils and select phrases from ‘I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud,’ William Wordsworth’s 1807 poem about discovering a ‘host of dancing daffodils,’ can be found in five different spots around the neighborhood—encouraging us to … reconnect with the lost art of meditative walking.”

“Silver Lining,” by Elisa Hamilton, “is an inclusive exploration of our relationship with hope that invites the public to engage in the brilliance of possibility.” See photos and artist statements at Fort Point Arts, here.

Agoos-Tropical-Fort-Point

palm-trees-visit-Boston

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

These photos are mostly from walks in Concord, although one is from Blithewold in Bristol, R.I. I’d like to develop my eye for good shots in winter, but there are so many more reasons to take pictures in spring! I especially love old, blasted trees with delicate, young flowers. I include one, a dogwood. The lilac in the graveyard is another tree that doesn’t know it’s not as hale and hearty as ever.

On Nashawtuc, a hundred different bird calls replaced the sounds of traffic.

Morning-sky-050214

rustic-flower-basket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

church-herb-gaarden

dappled-rhodies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

red-impatiens

 

 

 

 

wisteria-at-dawn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

flowers-at-Blithewold

bondir-landscaping

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

crippled-but-flowering-dogwood

lilac-in-graveyard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Even when I take my walk in the house on a bad day in winter, I find that walking helps me think. My pace indoors or out is not very energetic, but I like that all sorts of ideas and memories pop into my head as I walk.

At the NY Times blog called “Well,” Gretchen Reynolds describes new research that ties walking to creativity.

“A brief stroll, even around your office, can significantly increase creativity, according to a handy new study. Most of us have heard by now that exercise, including walking, generally improves thinking skills, both immediately and in the longer term. …

“Similarly, exercise has long been linked anecdotally to creativity. For millenniums, writers and artists have said that they develop their best ideas during a walk …

“Researchers at Stanford University recently decided to test that possibility, inspired, in part, by their own strolls. ‘My adviser and I would go for walks’ to discuss thesis topics, said Marily Oppezzo, at the time a graduate student at Stanford. ‘And one day I thought: “Well, what about this? What about walking and whether it really has an effect on creativity?” ‘

“With the enthusiastic support of her adviser, Daniel Schwartz, a professor in the Stanford Graduate School of Education, Dr. Oppezzo [gathered] her volunteers in a deliberately dull, unadorned room equipped with only a desk and (somewhat unusually) a treadmill, Dr. Oppezzo asked the students to sit and complete tests of creativity … Then the participants walked on the treadmill, at an easy, self-selected pace that felt comfortable. The treadmill faced a blank wall. While walking, each student repeated the creativity tests, which required about eight minutes.

“For almost every student, creativity increased substantially when they walked.”

The study was published this month in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.

 More here, where Reynolds notes that there was no difference when the volunteers walked outdoors instead of on a treadmill.

Embed from Getty Images

Read Full Post »

Since I like to walk everyday, even going round and round indoors for much of this past winter, I was fascinated to hear about walking as a competitive sport in the 19th century.

At his WBUR radio show yesterday, Only a Game, Bill Littlefield talked to Matthew Algeo, author of Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk Was America’s Favorite Sport.

Here’s Algeo: “Edward Payson Weston was a door-to-door books salesman from Providence, R.I. In the autumn of 1860, he made a bet with a friend on the outcome of that year’s presidential election. Weston bet that Lincoln would lose, and, of course, Weston lost the bet. The loser had to walk from Boston to Washington in 10 days and arrive in time to witness the inauguration of Lincoln on March 4, 1861.

“So Weston set out and made his way south. Of course, this was a very tense time in American history. Southern states began seceding. There wasn’t a lot of good, uplifting news. And the idea that this guy would walk from Boston to Washington in the middle of winter on terrible roads — it really did capture the imagination of the public, especially along the East Coast. Huge crowds would turn out to see him just walk through their town. Weston didn’t make it in time. He was four hours late to the inauguration. He did meet Lincoln a couple of days later and Lincoln offered to pay his rail fare home, but Weston said he would try to walk home. But the Civil War intervened.”

Littlefield then refers to Weston as one half of “the first great rivalry in the annals of American sports” and asks Algeo who the other half was.

“Daniel O’Leary, an Irish immigrant from Chicago,” says the author. “And what happened was Weston, to capitalize on his fame, decided to take his act indoors. He began walking inside roller rinks, and he would try to walk say 100 miles in 24 hours and charge people a dime for the pleasure of watching him walk in circles all day. This proved immensely popular — thousands of people would do it. Naturally competitors rose up and Daniel O’Leary actually walked 100 miles in 22 hours. And so he bested Weston’s record and so that set up the big showdown in 1875 that you mentioned. It was a 500-mile race over six days between Weston and O’Leary. …

“They would draw a dirt track on the floor of an arena. … The competitors would be sent off, and they would walk continuously day and night for six days right up until midnight the following Saturday night. And the rules were pretty simple: whoever walked the farthest was the winner.” Read more here, where you also can listen to the interview and read Littlefield’s book review.

 

Read Full Post »

I noted the little blue talisman but didn’t stop, walking on toward the path. Then I turned back. “Asakiyume would take a picture,” I thought. On the way back up the path I saw the little white talisman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Although there are alternative possibilities for a morning walk, I nearly always take the same route. I like to see the small changes — new plants blooming, different books in the book shop window, a house being renovated. I feel like I can keep checking out this small territory and never know it all.

I am reminded of a far more eloquently expressed thought by T.S. Eliot in the Four Quartets: “We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

These are the pictures I took early this morning. First is a tree I pass often. I love the trunk. Next is the herb garden behind the church.

Next time I pass this way, I will add a flower to the little memorial in the third picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: