Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Wednesday walk(s) 3

Today was a two walk day.  This morning, I met Amber early.  The sky was dark.  When cars passed us along the road with their headlights on, I was glad for the reflective stripe on my jacket.

When I drive in the dark and come upon a walker suddenly, not having seen him til I am almost upon him, I remind myself to wear something light, something reflective, something people will see.  You should do that, too, if you walk in the dark.  Better yet, wear a headlamp.  That's your walker's tip #1 for the day.

Our walk was a brisk 2.5 miles in the chilly morning air.  The radio said 28 degrees when I left home.  Besides my jacket with reflector stripe, I was wearing a wool hat and mitts, so I was plenty warm.  When it's cold, wear wool on your head and hands.  It keeps you warm, even if it gets a little wet.  That's your walker's tip #2 for the day.

I love the easy way conversation with a close friend just flows when you walk together.  As usual, we touched on a variety of topics.  I always head home from my walks with Amber feeling encouraged and very often, inspired.  She's that kind of friend.

Today she told me about Sepp Holzer and his permaculture methods. Way back when, a very long time ago, after I was married but BK (Before Kids), I worked in an organic research garden in Palo Alto, California, with sustainable agriculture and biointensive farming pioneer, John Jeavons.  Hearing about Holzer reminded me of the work of Jeavons and many like him around the world who are approaching issues of hunger and a healthy food supply with local, small-scale, thoughtful, creative, viable solutions.  I'm looking forward to watching the Sepp Holzer videos online.  Here, here, and here.

As I drove home, thinking about farming and terraces and growing citrus in the Alps, I was treated to a stunning sunrise.  Down in the eastern corner of the horizon, the sun reflected brilliant orange on low clouds.  Higher up, hues of pink and peach were splashed on cotton wool clouds.  It was a lovely end to a good morning walk.

This afternoon, the sun was shining and I felt pulled outside to walk again. I haven't done much mileage lately, so I decided to go 5 (actually 5.3).  One of the reasons I like walking better than running (aside from the fact that running kills my joints) is that I can talk on the phone.  OK, I know that's not really in the spirit of getting outdoors and enjoying the fresh air, etc., etc., but I was talking to my sweet son, Andrew.

I heard about his French test, his roommates, his desire for a nap instead of his afternoon job.  I'm glad he was going to his job, though.  At his tutoring job at an after-school center,  a little smart mouth kid with an attitude who doesn't want to do homework because she's never been given loving guidance at home because her mom is either on drugs or in jail needed to be told to do her math this afternoon and then patiently shown how multiplying and dividing are sort of the same thing, just backwards.  Anyway, that's the kind of thing he does a couple of times a week.  It's quite often frustrating, I know. I told him I hoped something would happen at the center this afternoon that would make him smile, make him glad he'd gone and not stayed in his room and taken that nap.  And I hope he made a little difference in someone's life this afternoon.

By the time we finished talking, I'd walked a mile.  I passed the German shepherds that bark at me and run to the very edge of their invisible fence daring me to cross it.  Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I did.  Would they eat me?  If I wasn't confident in how well they are trained, I might be a little fearful as I walk by. But they are clearly very well trained and I love seeing those beautiful dogs. I tell them what great dogs they are every time I walk by.

At mile 2.5, I saw a crow on the tip top of a sycamore tree.  He was a black silhouette against a rapidly clouding sky.  Corvus brachyrhynchos, if any of my students happen to read this!

By mile 4, the sky so clear blue when I started, was completely clouded over, as if a layer of quilt batting had been spread across it.  Snow clouds, says the weatherman.

From mile 1 on, I listened to two more chapters of Wives and Daughters.  Here's a little selection I particularly enjoyed.  I love the way the Squire describes his son, Roger, a lover of all things out of doors:

'Look at that!' [the Squire] said, as they suddenly came upon the mere, or large
pond. There was a small island in the middle of the glassy water, on
which grew tall trees, dark Scotch firs in the centre, silvery
shimmering willows close to the water's edge. 'We must get you punted
over there, some of these days. I'm not fond of using the boat at this
time of the year, because the young birds are still in the nests among
the reeds and water-plants; but we'll go. There are coots and grebes.'
'Oh, look, there's a swan!' [said Molly].

'Yes; there are two pair of them here. And in those trees there is both
a rookery and a heronry; the herons ought to be here by now, for
they're off to the sea in August, but I have not seen one yet. Stay! is
not that one--that fellow on a stone, with his long neck bent down,
looking into the water?'

'Yes! I think so. I have never seen a heron, only pictures of them.'

'They and the rooks are always at war, which does not do for such near
neighbours. If both herons leave the nest they are building, the rooks
come and tear it to pieces; and once Roger showed me a long straggling
fellow of a heron, with a flight of rooks after him, with no friendly
purpose in their minds, I'll be bound. Roger knows a deal of natural
history, and finds out queer things sometimes. He would have been off a
dozen times during this walk of ours, if he'd been here; his eyes are
always wandering about, and see twenty things where I only see one.
Why! I have known him bolt into a copse because he saw something
fifteen yards off--some plant, maybe, which he would tell me was very
rare, though I should say I'd seen its marrow at every turn in the
woods; and, if we came upon such a thing as this,' touching a delicate
film of a cobweb upon a leaf with his stick, as he spoke, 'why, he
could tell you what insect or spider made it, and if it lived in rotten
fir-wood, or in a cranny of good sound timber, or deep down in the
ground, or up in the sky, or anywhere. It is a pity they don't take
honours in Natural History at Cambridge. Roger would be safe enough if
they did.'
I'm really enjoying this book. (Thanks, Abby).

Two walks. Almost 8 miles. That's all.  Thanks for rambling along with me.


Bonnie said...

THAT was lots of walking today ~~ very different from mine but I did quiz Emma on those latin bird names!
I passed on those videos to my sister who also passed on Abby's blog to me this past weekend. You do remember she knows Abby's husband and somehow he came up in a conversation this weekend. Thank YOU for sharing part of Wives and Daughter's! Excellent book and movie. Glad to hear Andrew is doing well ~~ and I'm sure he was glad to go to the after school tutoring center after he got there.

Amber Benton said...

I want to read that book!