In praise of long, hot walks…

 

Okay, so my alternative would be to curse them but that wouldn’t be lady-like, would it! So following are some good things I can say:

 

  • They generally start off well. We are fresh, we are with friends, we all agree on the direction and it isn’t raining – hooray!
  • They are often in nice places (when they aren’t through industrial parks) with lots of greenery and bird tweets.
  • They provide an opportunity to cover many topics of conversation – or the same topic several times with different people.
  • By the end, you are covered in a coating of salt which makes an excellent exfoliant.
  • They do, finally, end and then you have really earned your treats at Starbucks, not to mention a delicious shower and a nap.

Oh, and one more thing, they do provide you with the confidence that you will be able to complete that 21K you are aiming for so I guess that means they are a good thing, eh! Next week 20K (sigh).

The extraordinary ordinary…

On Saturday, as we were all saying our good-byes after our post-walk coffee and tea, I was moved by what would have been, in the before-times, a very ordinary act. I will tell you more in a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

With the restrictions easing, we had one of the biggest turnouts in a long while. Over a dozen walkers from west, east and in-between came together for what turned out to be a lovely walk with the cemetery bright and shiny green from the recent rains. I started out grumpy from a restless night but, as always happens, was cheered up by the walking, the talking and sharing my mood with an equally grumpy soul-mate.

We congregated at our newly-found picnic area in the lane, chatted, sipped and snacked on someone’s generously shared Timbits.  We were rising and beginning our ‘ have a good weekends’ when two of the gang gave each other a big, warm,  spontaneous hug.  Nothing extraordinary, just fully-vaccinated friends hugging.  I almost wept.

We have kidded around about a full group hug when we are all in the clear but I am going to hold us to it! TPW Hug Day is a’coming.

Next week is another Pan Am Trail adventure. Check the website for details and come join us even if you aren’t training for Banff. It is in and out so can accommodate various distances.

Adventuring with caution…

 

Saturday was the beginning of training on the PanAm Trail in preparation for the Banff race (thank you P for coming up with the idea, mapping our routes and the above post-walk photo). It turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far and a little more of an adventure than we bargained  for. One of our group felt unwell towards the end (actually I think more than one of us felt the effects of the heat, me included). Fortunately, she was with someone but it reminded us all of the need to adhere to some safety precautions particularly for longer walks. Here is what we suggest:

  • Someone with a phone will volunteer to be the ‘sweep’ for each walk, making sure that everyone arrives at the end. The sweep will have the cell number of others in the group to call/text if there is need. If possible, everyone should carry a working phone, just in case.
  • Always try and walk with a buddy (although perhaps M can charge ahead as all the rest of us serve as his sweeps!).
  • Carry water – the heat can really do you in and there isn’t necessarily any water available on route, particularly with the pandemic.  Also, for long walks, take either electrolyte drinks or supplements or something appropriate to nibble on. In a pinch you can get back some of the salt you lose by licking the back of your hands or arms.
  • If you leave the route before meeting up with others at the end, please advise someone so the others don’t worry.

Most importantly, enjoy the experience of exploring new areas and seeing new sights – like this wonderful sign courtesy of S (please don’t all leap to respond at the same time!).

Spring and hope

Spring – I love this season. It is hope made visible.

Who could imagine there were so many shades of new leaf green – each sweeter and more tender than the next – and what can top the candy-floss blossoms of the magnolia and cherry trees?

It all fills me up with joy despite being mired in this pandemic. And that reminds me how resilient we humans are and that brings me back to hope.

We will get through this – and I am hoping we will be out of lockdown by May 29th so we can repeat the success of last year’s TPW Virtual Sporting Life Race. If you will remember, we met at the Starbucks at Hotel X down on the waterfront and set out in two groups, one going east and one west. Afterwards, we celebrated by sharing goodies brought by members of the gang .

I know this is dependent on the circumstances on the day but I love having something to look forward to so please put the date in your calendars…and hope for the best!

Spring, sweet treats, bunnies and May 29th race…

I hope everyone is enjoying the lovely spring weather and the abundance of chocolate and other sugary treats that marks this spring holiday. We celebrated with some deliciouos Hello Dollies and cupcakes at our after-walk picnic on Saturday before a chilly breeze sent us on our separate ways.

I got thinking about ‘why bunnies’ as an Easter symbol and so asked Uncle G who came up with lots on the subject but I liked this little quote.

Red rabbit stock image. Image of looking, bunny, nosy - 9633435All the fun things about Easter are pagan. Bunnies are a leftover from the pagan festival of Eostre (or Eastre), a great northern goddess (of spring and dawn) whose symbol was a rabbit or a hare. (adapted from The pagan roots of Easter, Heather McDougall, The Guardian).

So  it all starts with a woman who is then lost in history largely written by men (haven’t we heard that story before?). But enough of that, it is a season to be joyous. The days are longer and warmer, most of us have received at least one of our jabs, we are still walking and we can almost see an end in sight.

A reminder that we are planning to do our own Sporting Life race on Sat. May 29th from the Ex as we did for the Scotia back in the fall. Something to look forward to. In the meantime, indulge and enjoy the sunshine!

Celebrating women – and treats!

International  Women’s Day was on Monday but I think, given that women are over 50% of the population, that we can extend the celebration a bit longer, eh? In that spirit, I give a big shout out to my Toronto Power Walker friends. We are mostly female with, currently, one staunch male walker and ally (more are welcomed).

I find, the older I get, the more I rely on the companionship, compassion and comfort of my women friends and family. Oddly enough, I think it is the same for my husband, who seems to have drawn even closer to his sisters as time marches on.

So, for all the challenges of being a woman in this world, I count myself very lucky. Hooray for all you wonderful women out there – give yourselves a big hug from me!

And some terrific news, with the loosening of the lock-down, our Courtyard Social Convenor has announced that we are resuming our Saturday morning, post-walking treats. That is definitely worth celebrating!

Looking forward …

So much has been said about ‘the year that was’ that the only fitting thing I can think of to add is “Goodbye and good riddance!”

I know we still have a ways to go but here are three of the things I intend to do in 2021, as soon as it is safe to do so.

  • Hug people (great big bear hugs, up close and personal)
  • Eat at restaurants (really want to resume our Saturday breakfasts sitting shoulder to shoulder discussing everything under the sun)
  • Travel for fun (please let the vaccine be widely distributed by the fall in time to do the Banff race!)

As bad as 2020 has been, I do give thanks for TPW which has helped keep me sane and moderately healthy.  I am so amazed  at and grateful for the group’s tenacity and adaptability. Who would have thought a year ago that we would be having outdoor picnics in the snow.  So Canadian, eh?

A holiday season like no other…

There has never been a Christmas that I haven’t spent with family, but this year it will just be my husband and me (and, of course, our evil cat Leo, wearing a special bow). It does make me sad but I do know how privileged I am.  Many people will be truly alone and some will be in need  – they are the ones for whom we need to be showing compassion.  I also know that this is the right thing to do to help beat this disease for all of us.

I confess I was dithering but then my husband said to me “Wouldn’t I feel a fool, it I caught this thing and died, months before a vaccine was available.” That bit of truth, coupled with my rising anger at some of the foolishness that is going on out there, made me bite the bullet. And, although we will be deprived of physical togetherness, we will raise a glass and open presents together over Zoom.

I look forward to celebrating with other groups of friends in a similar fashion, including my beloved TPW gang for our Black and Medals on Wednesday evening.

Stay safe – flaunt our beautiful hand made masks (thank you P) and keep that social distance! We are going to get through this. Wishing everyone good spirits, love and kindness to others.

Gratitude for gifts received…

 

Tuesday Night Keeners

The beautiful weather this week has been an unexpected gift  from Mother Nature, making Saturday’s walk a special treat. It was even warm enough to enjoy our coffee and tea, accompanied by delicious cookies (thank you N!) at our very own outdoor gathering spot (thank you B).

And then, on my return home, I was welcomed with another extraordinary gift – the Biden/Harris ticket prevailed (hooray)!  I could hardly believe how relieved I felt. I know our giant neighbour and traditional friend has a long way to go (I do not envy the job that has to be done) but at least there is now some cautious hope back.

It does make me realize how fragile democracies are and reminds me how vigilant we all need to be to make sure ours remains strong and vibrant. And, oddly enough, that brings me full circle back to our group. I think it all starts with being good to each other, making room for everyone’s voice, practicing respectful listening – basically, doing onto others as you would have them do onto you (and, of course, voting).

Let’s all raise a toast to new beginnings globally and continue fostering our own small democratic group locally!

Fall musings…

I love the fall – despite the fact that it is the harbinger of winter.  The cemetery on Saturday was ablaze with eye-warming reds and yellows. Made me think of poetry and so I went looking and found this lovely little poem by Emily Dickinson.

The morns are meeker than they were,

The nuts are getting brown;

The berry’s cheek is plumper,

The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,

The field a scarlet gown.

Lest I should be old-fashioned,

I’ll put a trinket on.

This Tuesday is the last one for hill-training (10 times up and down that ever steeper hill) and, the week after, many of us are doing the Scotia virtual relay – after which we will have some lovely new ‘trinkets’ to wear around our necks.

Stay safe and sane, wear your masks, wash those hands and maintain  distance as you walk your distance!