Walks in the neighborhood

It gets hot in Lexington in the summer; temperatures can touch the high eighties, sometimes even the nineties and with no cloud cover your skin can burn. The good thing is that it gets cooler in the evening and even at 8:30p.m. there is daylight aplenty.

I was trying to be a dedicated ‘Fitbiter’; my aim was to walk 10,000 steps every day. And while you can get about 3,000 on the meter just by going through your daily activities, you still need to do a focused walk to get to your goal. So every evening, after dinner, I would put my walking shoes on and step out.

I loved that I did not have to drive anywhere to take a long walk. In Bombay, there are two options – drive to Marine Drive or walk on Nepean Sea Road, dodging cars and pedestrians, breathing in petrol fumes and the pollution. Here the air was clean and the sky was a lovely shade of blue.

We were staying in Masterson Station, an archetypal American neighborhood – houses with neat front yards, one or two cars parked in front of the garage, some of the mailboxes sporting the American flag. The sidewalks were sufficiently wide for two people to walk together, and shady trees lined both sides of the streets.

Since it was a large neighborhood I would try to take different routes, and as I walked I noticed facets of everyday life – a family celebrating their child’s birthday with a banner and balloons on the front door; since it was graduation time, a number of houses proudly sported ‘Congratulations Graduate’ banners; and one house even had a big banner announcing the birth of their baby girl!; men religiously mowing lawns, then using a path trimmer to make sure that the edges were neat and tidy; others washing their cars; kids playing basketball.

I enjoyed being a part of the community – fellow walkers would say a quick ‘Hello’ as I passed by; people sitting on their porch would raise a hand in greeting; children on bicycles would smile shyly. I would see couples out for their daily jog and mothers walking or running with babies in prams that could have been manufactured by Jaguar, all sleek and stylish, and probably with as many bells and whistles!

Sometimes though I would plug in my earphones and listen to music, shutting out the world around me to focus on nothing. Walking, apart from being a good exercise is also therapeutic – allowing you to de-stress, to think about nothing and everything… just letting your thoughts flow… helping to clear your mind.

When I began the evening walks it was about getting the steps in – a box to be checked – but as the days went by, it became an activity that I started enjoying.  And now wherever I am, whichever part of the world I visit, I walk – on trails, in the parks or just around the neighborhood. 

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