2020 was the year of walking, for so many people. People streamed by my house with kids or dogs. There were memes and jokes on social media about dogs hiding from their owners who were wanting to go on yet another walk. An idea sprang up for people to put teddy bears in their windows for kids to count as they passed by–a Teddy Bear Hunt. I put some of my bears in the living room window, too. People decorated their windows, doors or yards in ways that would be fun for passersby. It felt very communal.
I was one of those walkers, too, since I was already walking with my dogs every day, and I loved seeing all the cheerful messages around the neighborhood, greeting new people with their dogs, observing the ways people kept their houses and yards, checking out all the Little Libraries in my area. I love walking anyway, and Iâ€™ve been at it still. Some of those walks have been with both of my dogs, with just Miles, by myself, or with a friend.
On my birthday last year I started keeping a book of my daily walks. I had a blank book that had belonged to a friend who died. Since it has French words on the cover, I had assumed she bought it in Paris. And in my typical way, I imagined some Romantic meaning (mai oui! because itâ€™s French) but when I looked up Mon Carnet De Poche I found it just means My Pocket Notebook. Oh well. Câ€™est la vie.
So each day I put down the date and write a little something about the walk–who I was with, where we went, who we met (including any dogâ€™s name that we learned), what I saw, what the morning was like. It has resulted in me speaking to people I see and asking their names, which is nice. And I started picking up little bits of thing that Iâ€™d see–leaves, flower petals, things like that–and I tape them into the book. It is now a year later and the book is fatter (me, too, despite the walking) and full of lots of little bits of thing. And with pages to go! It has been a fun little project that I will likely stop when there are no pages left.
I always have some kind of record-keeping thing like this to add to my routines and make life just a little more interesting. I imagine Iâ€™ll think of something else to keep track of, write down, or collect when Iâ€™m finished with this. What about you?
â€œNow shall I walk or shall I ride?
‘Ride,’ Pleasure said;
‘Walk,’ Joy replied.â€
â€• W.H. Davies
â€œBut the beauty is in the walking — we are betrayed by destinations.â€
â€• Gwyn Thomas
If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on myÂ website. And if you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems here.
Thanks for listening,
P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”