The Slow Lane

I don’t believe in running.

I would sooner take a hammer to my knees and hips.

I believe in walking and slowing down enough to absorb my surroundings.

I don’t believe in racing past the all of the nuances that nature has to offer. I like when the only sounds are the crunch of gravel, the beating of a heart, the sigh of breath. I don’t put headphones in my ears because there is no music better suited to walking in the woods than bird calls and the whoosh of a chipmunk scurrying through the underbrush.

I don’t believe in being fast. Running seems to be about getting it over with, making it from point A to point B without taking any time to notice what is in between. Everyone is running these days. Entering a marathon is de rigueur for anyone wanting to prove they aren’t a couch potato. In social circles, people mention that they’re a “runner” as if it will afford them some sort of clout in a world obsessed with waist sizes.

I don’t believe in going farther faster. I like walking with a dog. Dogs enjoy life and nature and a good walk with such abandon. Everything is cause for celebration, a reason to stop and sniff. There are few things as wonderful as reaching the peak of the trail to look out between the trees to see a view you’ve never contemplated before. In the midst of the dense green, with no one around but me and my yellow lab, I spotted a bird I’d never seen before – a tiny scarlet body, scarlet like the color of blood from an artery, with black wings. A creature you can only notice in the quiet of a forest when you’re walking slowly.

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