Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Walkabout—after the storm

We’ve all heard the scientific explanation of why the air is so fine following a storm, washed clean of pollen and charged with friendly ions. But that doesn’t detract from the wonder of it each time you step into a day as glorious as these last two here in Florida.

The crispness calls to mind an early fall day in the northeast, rare here even in winter. Devoid of humidity, the air sparkles, truly reflecting natures colors.

A perfect day for a neighborhood walk. Or perhaps a stroll through the downtown farme’s market—a cornucopia of entrepreneurial creativity, populated by folks and their fashionista small dogs.

T’is a grand day to be alive and walking…

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Walkabout: the long Passover walk

I probably should have called this A long Passover walk, because as we know, the original apr├Ęs Seder stroll was one for the record books. But they didn’t have record books back then either, eh? Oh well, whatever…

One could call it the mother of all fitness walks. (Sorry, couldn’t help it.)

In honor of the holiday of my ancient ancestors I “took the long way home” by extending my own walk on Lido Beach. It seemed especially fitting to feel the sand give way under my feet—although the Hebrews didn’t have the benefit of my Orthaheel shoes as they trod the desert for 40 years.

As I walk, I flash back to the Passovers of my youth, at my grandparent’s house in Brooklyn. After dinner, slightly drunk on Manischewitz my older cousins Bobby and Barry would let me tag along with them for a walk along the dark, silent city streets. I seem to recall ending up at Ebbets Field.

Time may march on, but the longing for “home” not only remains, but grows stronger with the years. This much I know.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Walkabout: a post diner stroll

Last night I finally made it out in the evening, after downing one too many yummy organic grilled cheeseburgers and veggies. At 7 p.m. under a mellowing sky and a slightly cool breeze I headed out.

My destination? The local CVS to drop off a prescription. The mile-long walk took me down a back street, past several other small condo complexes through a long, narrow stretch of land called Turtle Park. It’s obvious it was once meant to be a thru street that was put to a higher use.

Sarasota does the park thang really well. When I first moved here a decade ago, I used to walk it daily. Since then, the sophisticated mix of trees planted along the graceful curving walkway has matured from saplings, providing much needed shade from the Florida sun. There is the ever present water fountain, benches and even a large leatherback turtle sculpture.

As I strolled, I flashed back to those early walks. I was so desperately homesick, with the sinking feeling I had made a huge mistake in leaving the Jersey Shore. I had taken the boardwalks for granted. The cement was unyielding beneath my feet. So I would get into a rhythm, allow my eyes to flutter almost closed, and will myself back to the Shore. I could feel the boards give under my strides and smell the sea.

My goal is to integrate walking into my life. Last month, I would have hopped into the cat without thinking. Now, I think before I drive: Is there some way to “walk this out.”

It may be a small step …but it’s one in the right direction. And that’s not a small thing.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Walkabout: back to the beach

An early start to this day off and I finally made it back to the beach for my first “ambassadorial” stroll on the sand. I really have to make peace with being morning person at this stage of my life. That’s when my mental and physical energy is at its zenith. The hard truth is, regardless of the long Florida days when I put it off it never gets done.

Living on the west coast of Florida, we are famous for our sunsets. Each evening, crowds gather at along the Gulf to watch the sun sink into the sea. Urged on by others, I made such forays and walked the beach as the sky kissed the earth goodnight. And I came away unfulfilled.

I am a sunrise person. Back “home” along the (real) Jersey Shore, the sun rises out of a grey Atlantic, lighting up a fresh clean new day, alive with possibilities. And the boardwalks provide the perfect walking/running surface. Ah, my homesickness is showing. Well, soon enough I will be back for a long while. But that’s a story for another day.

But I digress. Back to the beach.

I rarely walk the sand in shoes. It’s either barefoot or my Orthaheel flips. Again, these extraordinary walking shoes surprised me. I stuck to the compact sand far from the water and it was a joy. These featherweight shoes walked the edge of being super comfy and responsive to the uneven terrain.

I fear I will never be satisfied with any other shoe.

I can live with that.