The draw of the outdoors

My legs were stiff requiring occasional stops along the path to stretch. I could return home, but the relief of being outdoors, the sight of people interacting, and the combined beauty of the red brick buildings and green trees called me to go further. Yes, the Chicago humidity was uncomfortable but less so than the intense heat of Phoenix and was eased by the light breeze emanating from the lake.

I flew to Chicago from Phoenix a few days ago, mostly for a change of venue during this time of COVID-19 and to allow me to get outside! Staying in my daughter’s garden-level guestroom challenges me with a flight of stairs but is cool and dark, perfect for sleeping. The large adjoining family room testifies to the recent move with boxes and items scattered throughout. Perfect for me is the alcove at the far end providing me a window to the outdoors and space for my computer and music and sewing equipment.

Settled in, I challenged myself to climbing the stairs alternating feet. After a couple of trials, my left knee reminded me that it was not yet completely healed, thank you, and would appreciate some sensitivity. Fortunately, there is only one flight of stairs, not the three to YD’s former condo.

I am appeased by walking. The northside neighborhoods of Chicago are beautiful. Many of the older buildings are being refaced and remodeled while retaining the Chicago character. Streets are tree-lined. Sidewalks are buffered from by street by green boulevards. Front yards are filled with flower gardens. Small shops invite you to sample their wares, take-out of course. And so I walk. I was disappointed at how quickly my thighs tightened. I concentrated on my gait and posture and stopped for stretching and relaxing. In spite of the discomfort, the winding path held me until, disoriented, I had no choice but to keep going until I found my way home.

I flew in on a one-way ticket so no deadline is controlling me. Walking outdoors has a quality unmatched by indoor tracks or shopping malls. Walking beautiful paths exercises the legs and heart while restoring the soul. Here is my vision: I walk until it is comfortable again. How long will it take?

Author: Mary Cornelius

I am an aging woman who writes three blogs.

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