I try to go for a walk every morning. It is SO good for me to get up, throw on some clothes and head out just before the heat heralds another summer’s day here in Oz. I’ve given up on Lycra and coordinated sportswear. The kookaburras don’t seem to mind what I turn up in. My phone tracks the steps and after a winter of wonderful indulgence my creaking body is just getting used to being active again. When spring comes I usually launch myself into a rigorous walking and exercise program. Yoga? Yes. Walking Group? Absolutely. Zumba? Well, I’ll try anything. By week 2 the enthusiasm wanes, my body sobs and I face the fact once again, that I’m not a joiner. Other people seem to do groups really well but for me the solitary morning walk is what I really enjoy. As the early morning world awakes full of possibilities for a new day I’m happy to be here, alive in this beautiful place.
This morning it’s a lake walk. It’s going to be hot today 40 degrees (c) and everyone’s out early before the heat hits. The landscape has a brittle, parched feel. Dusty and pungent with the smell of Eucalyptus. It announces summer is really here. The birds duck and dive into their water playground while I take slow steady steps to complete the task. Not every morning walk is full of sensory delights, a sense of adventure or gentle chats with people I meet along the track. Some walks are just nice and ordinary. A task completed. An hour spent with my thoughts. A body moving but not overly challenged. That’s Ok.
There are other places I have loved to walk. Bali is my home away from home. In Sanur, before the sun springs to life around 5.30am I walk the stretch along path that winds its way along the beachfront. I pass warung where women sweep their parcel of beach and clean the small 3 legged BBQ that last night grilled fish for 30 patrons. Further along the dive boys are gathering to eat, smoke kreteks and prepare the tanks and boats for the days’ activities. There is always so much laughter and playfulness in this group. I understand nothing of their language but the atmosphere is one of camaraderie, life- long friendships and work they seem to really enjoy- a very nice workplace!
The morning yoga group gathers on the beach and the platform is swept and a rush mat placed ready for the yoga teacher to arrive. There is no cosmically connected soul music to lull the senses- just the sound of the waves and in a distant place, the sound of the gamelan.
Everyone says hello along this walk. Even the most intense tourist, wired, ear plugged, and Lycra bound eventually relaxes and takes in the prevailing code- a nod, smile or even a “Salamat Pagi.”
I also enjoyed very different morning walks when I lived in the heart of the city of Melbourne. It too was glorious. Without a car, my feet were my primary mode of transport from the little apartment sheltered right in the heart of the city. I walked to markets for my daily shop, cinemas, the state library, galleries, cafes and bars.
Every morning I strolled through the Exhibition gardens imagining the fine Victorian ladies in their sweeping dresses strolling past the manicured lawns and garden beds. Before the city workers streamed into town the garbage trucks and street sweepers gave the city a new set of clothes. I walked through China town in the early morning with each doorway having received its delivery of a giant bag of bean shoots for the day’s trade.
These are the small, every day, ordinary walks. They are marvellous! In planning my retirement I imagined myself walking in the Himalayas and I’ve planned walking the Camino de Santiago many times. I’ve seen the movies, bought the books and started the fitness regime. But I’m yet to commit. For the time being and probably for years to come it’s the simple, rhythmic ritual of an hour spent at sunrise
Where do you enjoy your morning walks? How do you stay motivated? What do you see on your walks? We’d love to hear from you. Send photos of your special walking place.