Writers Walk

Mary Karr, who I think I might be distantly related to (by marriage), wrote that tweet on December 8 and I can’t stop thinking about it. And she’s right. I’m slowly picking my way through Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, and it’s amazing how many writers and thinkers swear by their walks. It shouldn’t be surprising — how many times have we watched a movie or read a book in which some great idea or careful observation came while our hero was out for a walk?

It also doesn’t hurt that one of the fundamental elements of a hygge life is being outside in nature. It says so right in one of my favorite books, How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life. Just being in nature changes your outlook. It provides a fresh perspective. All of that oxygen doesn’t hurt either – we know that our brain works best when its awash with plenty of oxygen.

So I’ve been trying to figure out when to go for a walk. Isn’t that ridiculous? The ideal time for a walk would be after I drop my oldest off at school and my middle off at preschool, which gives me 2.5 hours with only the baby. There’s two things that get in the way of going for a walk then:

  • The weather – it is pretty cold this time of year. I know, I know: “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes,” as my husband is fond of saying. But I can’t really bundle up the baby before I tuck her into her carseat before leaving and I hate exposing her to the elements by bundling her up at the park. Also – there’s lots of snow and ice on the ground, which makes the walks a bit treacherous with a baby strapped to my belly; and
  • That time has been my writing time these last few weeks. I try to write early in the morning, but I can’t always depend on it. The baby has been trending towards napping around 9:30, which gives me a small gap of time to sit down for a few minutes. It’s not 100%, but I’ve been having better luck than the early morning hours.

So those are my superficial challenges. I have a bike in the basement that I could use, which is definitely better than nothing. If I was really devoted to the idea of moving my body, I could go down there for 15-30 minutes a day. Obviously, I’m not because I haven’t “exercised” at all this month.

Besides, I want to be outside. It’s the time of year when I start yearning for spring flowers, despite the fact that they’re months away here in New Hampshire. So here’s my goal on this Monday morning: go for one walk this week. Find a morning that’s not as cold, bundle up that baby, and find a trail in the woods. And don’t forget the Yaktrax!


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