My honey and I live in New Jersey and we’ve recently witnessed the wrath of Hurricane Sandy. The neighborhood we live in looked like a war zone after Sandy blew through the state. 90 MPH winds sent hundreds of giant eastern white pine trees crashing down on electric cables, across major roads (blocking them completely), and in most unfortunate cases; through houses. My grandfather believes that this occurred because New Jersey’s soil is sandy and rocky, which makes it impossible for trees to become deeply rooted into the ground. Luckily, our apartment building had almost no damage. Our hearts go out to those who were less fortunate and we gladly donated our clothing to those who needed it more.
But, I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw how the hurricane affected the dynamics between certain people and their beloved automobiles. Once Sandy had gone, these people suddenly needed to put gas in their cars NOW! No matter what! With all these giant trees blocking the roads, how were they going to get to the supermarket to buy crackers? They would have to do the unthinkable!!! They would have to put one foot in front of the other and walk an entire half a mile to the store to taste those yummy crackers. That’s right you can actually get to the store…by walking there. No need to run over police officers at gas stations or pull guns and axes on old ladies who happen to get ahead of you at the gas pump (yes, this actually happened).
I could go off on a rant about how the hurricane brought out the worst (and the best) in people, but I think we already know that, so let’s take a walk instead. It’s the most natural thing for us to do. That’s why we were created to walk upright on two feet. To me, walking is pure magic! It’s the best thing since sliced bread.
While walking you notice things. Is that a saw-whet Owl…in Jersey (who knew)? Your son or daughter walking beside you now remembers the moment forever. In really late fall you notice the cold gray-blue sky, the smell of dirt and dead leaves, and you feel the chill on your face and bones, and it makes you feel alive. It awakens the senses and inspires creativity. Henry David Thoreau and tons of other literary geniuses had their best ideas come to them in mid stride.
Sadly, I feel that very few of us take walks these days and even fewer are in touch with the natural world. When I tell people at work that I went for a walk after work, they look at me with utter disbelief, as if I said “I went for a walk after work NAKED”. The late great Edward Abbey totally called it back in the 60s when he said that the automobile will lead to the demise of our national parks, monuments, state parks, and forests. Yes sir, no profits to be made if we were to experience our parks mainly on foot or bicycle (other than profits in the form of mental and health wellness, but who cares about that).
Still, I am still hopeful that natural disasters won’t be the thing to finally unplug us from our machines and awaken us into the real world. OK, time to go for a walk 🙂