The closest park to my house has a pool and ball fields and too many yelling kids. There's a tiny pond with an arching bridge and half the geese in NE Ohio, so you know even when the grass isn't green there's enough green goose poop to keep things colorful. People like to take wedding and prom pictures by the sculpted gardens and fountains. The police station and city hall are on the property which makes me feel over disciplined even if the only thing I'm doing is walking the dog. Even the sculpted gardens feels overly disciplined.
The next park is a golf course so I don't think that really counts, but the park after that has actual trees and wildlife. I like that park, but it's just far enough away to drive, and such a short drive feels wasteful. My new exercise goal is to not only walk to the park, but to actually walk it too. I'm either going to get healthier or have a cardiac arrest.
Maybe I should point out I live downhill from everything except Lake Erie. This means I have to walk up 2 fairly significant hills just to get to the first park. If I ever achieve my goal of getting to the nature park, there's 2 significant hills within the park. The last time I walked up that second hill I stood at the top with spots in my eyes. Uh uh uh ugh.
Yesterday, I decided the weather was crappy enough I could justify only walking the first hill, but all this stupid exercise made me feel energetic enough to walk up the second too. Then, oh why not, I'll walk a bit more. The freezing Canadian wind chilled by the frozen lake whipped my face raw but I persevered. I got to the next stop on my exercise plan and saw the sign for the good park in the distance. I turned around and walked home with the frozen wind whipping my other cheek. It took hours to feel warm again. My shoulders hurt. Since when does walking make shoulders ache?
Sadly, I think walking some more might help. Stupid exercise. There's some sort of built in addictive process involved. I wasn't even interested in dinner afterwards. Unlike some of you people, I'm obviously a reluctant exerciser. I just want miraculous physical ability without wasting my time and effort.
I'm trying to keep things interesting so I don't lose interest and give up. The word for the week was blue not long ago. I looked for blue things on my walk. Now I look for other colors too. I noticed a house with pink shutters and awnings for sale. I looked up the price when I got home ($116,000). I amused myself by imagining a little old lady living there. Another house looks like it's been split into 4 or more apartments with adjoining decks. I imagined some excellent deck parties. The garage for someone else's house looks about the size of my entire house. I figured out the comparison and it is.
It occurs to me that all this stupid exercise has some benefits beyond my ability to walk up hills and endure weather. With nothing else to do other than try to avoid a heart attack, my mind is going places it hasn't gone in a long time. Fantasy, math, and observation are as essential to the creative life as a paintbrush. We need quiet time to hear things in our minds. The act of creation is a physical activity. It can help to actually live in our bodies instead of just our heads. I'm going to keep looking at houses and making up stories for the people who live in them.