the smaller the space, the longer the walk

At the end of this month, I will complete my second year of walking 10k steps each day.

My record is nearly perfect, although I admit I’ve fallen a few steps short three or four times (and always compensated for it the following day).

I think all of these imperfect days were in 2009.   In 2010, the compulsiveness of the behavior has increased.

Most days, it’s quite easy to do.  Some days are more challenging.

Which brings me to my point — a profound, existential, obvious awareness:  the smaller the space, the longer the walk.

Last night, I had quite a bit of work to do and finished late.  I had two thousand steps to go.  Ordinarily, I would have walked down the street, or around the campus, or around the block — and it would have been a piece of cake.

But it was raining hard, so I walked around the couch many, many times.  Sure, there was TV — but it seemed to be a long ways.  And it seemed to take a long time.

Tonight, I walked in the mall while listening to a book.  There was a smattering of Christmas shopping in progress, which does offer some entertainment.  There are people to greet.  There’s the holiday merchandise to notice.  But it’s still a confined space that’s not all that interesting — and it makes for a fairly long walk.

When I’m outside, the 10 thousand steps fly by in no time at all.

The smaller the space, the longer the walk.

One could argue that 10k steps is 10k steps — no matter where — and that it’s the same amount of walking.  One could argue that it’s only my perception that is different.

But perception is all I’ve got — so I’m sticking to my story:  the smaller the space, the longer the walk.

I’m pretty sure this could be applied to all areas of life, but who’s got time for that?  Who knows, it might even be in the Tao Te Ching (although Lao-tzu certainly would have said it better).

Tonight, while walking, a gentleman remarked to me that it was cold outside.

“It’s getting down to 27 tonight,” he said.  “That’s cold!”

I agreed.  I was wearing a sports coat that was perfectly warm earlier in the day.  But the sun had set and it was no longer sufficient.

“I’m gonna freeze walking to my car,” I said.

cold weather
cold weather

This prompted me to look at the weather forecast on my phone for Fairbanks, Alaska — which is where my dear daughter, Sarah, now lives.

It was 22 below, and predicted to be 34 below later in the evening.

Reality has more to do with how we see things than with the things themselves.

Sarah Palin, grasping for reality…

Last night, I visited my Mom in her room at Carillon.  She was sleeping (which is what she does most of the time these days) so it was a chance to watch a little TV.

Television, of course, is mostly a waste of time.  But, given the circumstances, it seemed like a pretty good thing to do.  It was too dark in the room to read.  The power supply on my laptop is on the blink (quite literally, in fact; the light is blinking, and not charging the battery).  It’s not the appropriate time and place for meditation.  And I wanted to sit awhile.

As long as I was watching, I decided to catch the newest reality show — Sarah’s Palin’s Alaska.

I’m sure the blogs are full of commentary by now, but this is my virgin impression — before searching the web to find out what I really think.

I might have missed the good part, because I only saw the last twenty minutes or so, but…

Why are we this fascinated?  Are we this fascinated?

sarah palin
sarah palin climbing

In fact, we are.  I check the stats on my blog, and those entries that mention Sarah Palin get more search traffic than anything else — by far.

John F. Kennedy, a war hero who, they say, had a hole in his back the size of a fist, polished his resumé for a Presidential campaign by publishing Profiles in Courage.

Barack Obama, a kid “with a funny name,” raised by a single parent — and a brilliant student — paid off his college loans by publishing Dreams from my Father (a great book; I listened to the audio, read by the author/President, which won a Grammy).

Sarah Palin wrote a book too, Going Rogue — but here she was, climbing a rock, grasping for a grip, engaged in an epic struggle for sure footing, wearing a mic and talking about how hard it was.

She’s the new kind of American hero.  The realty show star.  All personality and celebrity.  Great TV material for a campaign.  But President?  The fact that she has any support at all for this is phenomenal.  And fascinating.

To her credit, it was an athletic accomplishment.  But if it had been almost anybody else, it would have been way too boring too watch.  In this case, it might be ingenious marketing.  After all, whether she runs for President or not, she’s made about $20 million this year.

Putting aside the demonetization that’s so persistent from political opposition, Kennedy and Obama are real heroes who can inspire children with their remarkable lives and rhetoric and achievement.

My mom is grasping to life.  The details of her life also contain elements of remarkable heroism.

In fact, when you scratch the surface, it’s apparent that many people are heroes.  They’re all around us.  Everywhere.

Sarah Palin is a hero also (a working woman, raising five children — like my mom).  I admire the way she grasps and climbs.

But I’m not so sure, at this point, if she’s climbing the right rock.

it hurts a little

My daughter, Sarah, posted this on her Facebook today:

“It was sad saying goodbye to the family today in Charlotte. Now I’m safe back in the Banks. Hello old man winter, pleasure to see you again.”

When she says “the Banks,” she’s talking about Fairbanks, Alaska, where the average high in January is 0.  The average low is 19 below.  Average!

She’s hoping to be back in June for her sister’s graduation.

She’s happy living there.  We all had a wonderful visit.  Her trip home was safe.

But we had a quiet, very sad day here in Salisbury.

Sarah's coming home from cold, cold Fairbanks

Daughter Sarah is coming home for a two week visit.  We pick her up at the Charlotte airport tomorrow night (tonight, technically, since it’s after midnight now).

According to my phone, here’s the weather forecast where she lives, in Fairbanks Alaska:

Weather in Fairbanks
Weather in Fairbanks

Here’s the forecast here in Salisbury:

weather in Salisbury
weather in Salisbury

She’ll probably be walking around barefoot, complaining about the heat and humidity.

It sure will be nice to see her and be with her.