Walking Again

It’s too hot to walk in summer here in Phoenix. Somewhere around mid-June the temperature stops going below 90 and even if I get up early, it’s too hot to walk.

So I joined a gym. Nothing against gyms, I just hate them. I hate the stuffy smell. I hate that the loud music that is supposed to get you energized and makes me want to eat glass instead. I hate the machines in their cruel light and their baffling weight-setting methods, which varies from machine to machine.

I hate walking on the treadmills. I love walking. In the cooler months, I walk three to five miles every morning, but walking through parks and neighborhoods is nothing at all like slogging along on a treadmill. The treadmill asks me how old I am and how much I weigh, then decides how fast my heart should be beating. Because I’ve walked for a long time, my resting heart rate is fairly slow, so the machine accuses me of lying and demands I put both hands on the heart monitor, as if using one hand will give me a half-count for my heart beat.

This morning it was overcast and I had a great idea–I’d walk to the gym, do the machines, and walk back. A round trip of three miles, and a shorter time at the gym. Download an audiobook to entertain me (and it doesn’t fight with their loud techno-music) and it was almost a good time.

Best of all was the walk. Something magical happens when I walk. It’s calming and soothing and I can solve problems and dream up ideas.

Small pleasures, found and taken. I am grateful.

Quinn McDonald is teaching an online poetry class starting August 11..