The Suitcase Lady


January 3, 2017, 12:36 pm

Taking a walk is a great pleasure. It is also therapeutic. Getting outside, stimulating all the senses and using muscles galore is restorative.

I come from a family of walkers. My parents weren’t into sports, but they did believe in being fit. I logged many miles with them as a child, which perhaps explains why I cringe when seeing three, four and five year olds being wheeled around in their super-sized strollers. My own children trailed behind me like ducklings when they were little. One day a total stranger told me to “slow down”. I must note that both children did grow up to be healthy, strong walkers. Our daughter even completed the New York Marathon this year.

My beloved Aunt Vi was the best walker in our family. She never married and never drove a car, but she was born to move. For all her retirement years (and she lived to be 89) my aunt walked many miles a day…year round. The only thing that kept her from her daily hike was severe icy sidewalks. “I don’t want to fall and break a leg,” she would say. “I can’t imagine not being able to walk.” She got her wish. Aunt Vi had a long walk on the last day of her life.

Winter walking is a bit of a challenge for me as I am not a fan of below freezing temperatures. Luckily, last year I found an incredibly expensive, new winter coat at St. Vinnies for $4.00. It is not a fashion statement. In fact, I resemble a hooded, purple version of the Michelin man when I wear it. But being able to take a winter walk in comfort supersedes chic.

Here is a delightful verse I found in a 1987 book of New Year’s poems for young people.

First January Walk
I’ve been out walking
among the winds of dawn.
I’ve kicked frozen puddles
and cracked them into crystal bits.
I’ve stepped on snow
and left my footprints
to melt in the afternoon sun.
I’ve run after deer
and felt no fear
of losing myself
in the open woods.
Pine trees have given me
their evergreen secrets,
and one or two blue jays
have sung to me.
I am free
with the New Year’s air.
Emanuel Di Pasquale


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