Why I walk in the mornings

It is beautiful this way . . .
The streets I mean—all wet from last night’s rain. The double yellow line that runs down the center of the road seems to glow a little beneath a dull colored morning. The sky is covered in a blanket of light gray clouds. This is the kind of gray that matches a long beard on a puppet I once saw as a young boy.
Although it is summertime and the heat has been as thick and the air is as humid as a wet blanket; I bundle up in cold weather clothes. The weather is muggy and warm but there is a purpose for my heavy clothing.

After an early rise, I put on a t-shirt, a thermal shirt beneath a hooded sweatshirt with another hooded sweatshirt above it. I put on a pair of sweatpants; put socks on my feet, and then I put on my sneakers and lice them tightly.
Before stepping outside, I let out a forceful exhale to act like a switch to enact the ready system in my body. This small physical display acts like the sound of a charge and commands my body to go.

Opening the front door gives way to the outside scene. Once again, this here is my place I call Spook Rock. I have worked hard to get where I am. I paid my fair share to find myself where I am today. I’ve bled for this place. I’ve bled plenty, in fact.

With my back to my home and the mountains behind it, and with my face to the wind, I inhale all that I can take. Around me, tall trees, green grass, and the smell of mountains during a rainfall blend together as a background for a small team of red-breasted robins. I watch as they hop across the wet grass, happily poking their black beaks into the earth to search morning worms.

I exhale to let go. I breathe out heavy; pushing my breath to the sound of a loud shushing noise. This is me preparing for my walk. Again, I inhale only to force another exhale of a heavy breath. I do this with purpose because my walk has purpose. This is my time now. There is no one else around. There are no outside opinions to confuse me. There is no one around to impress or influence me in any way possible. There is no one else—there is only me, myself, and the open road.

I begin my walk heading southbound. A light mist is falling. The lake I pass as I walk over the uphill bridge on Old Wesley Chapel Road is quietly still. The surface of the lake is totally motionless. It looks like a glassy mirror that reflects the draping, low-flying clouds that cut through the trees on my side of the mountain. Deep in the middle of the lake, two swans slowly and lovingly meander, romantically moving together through an otherwise damp and lugubrious morning . The two swan’s white feathers with their orange and black bills stand out in the dull colored morning. I see this as beautiful that while sad in some regard; there is no way to silence the brightness of nature.

When I walk, I need to walk with purpose. Heading up hill with the dedication to burn away and rid myself of the inner toxins that can keep a man sick, I push myself and step hard. I step hard, as if every step I took meant the difference between life and death.

The streets have small puddles of rainwater pooled and collected in uneven patches of the slightly broken road. I can see the small puddles reflecting bits and pieces of the overhead sky; they allow for glimpses of trees and telephone lines in the slick shallowness of these tiny puddles.

To picture this more clearly, it would help if you imagine the roads as they are. The streets are mostly lined with tall trees and telephone poles that carry communication wire from one pole to the next. The roads are mostly quiet, which can also be dangerous at times because those who drive through will often drive quickly because these roads are rarely if ever policed. I suppose this happens sometimes—a pedestrian, jogger, or maybe even someone on a bicycle might be clipped by a fast moving vehicle. I don’t think about this much—least of all while I’m walking. No, suffice to say my mind is elsewhere as I walk along the shoulder of the road. I turn right on Grandview and head over the intersection of Grandview and Spook Rock. After crossing over Spook Rock, then I take Grandview down to Haverstraw.

Stepping as if every step has a specific meaning; I use this energy to settle the inner disturbance that rings on like a bad meeting which never ends. I walk hard because I, like you and or anyone else for that matter, have been infected by a social and mental virus, which infects and spreads like any other infestation.
This is not a virus caused by germs or technology. This virus is caused by worry and insecurity. I have this mental virus, or emotional cancer, if you will. This is why I walk. I see these long intense walks as my form of penicillin to the social ailments that often plague my thoughts.  Since there is no cure for emotional cancers; this is my way of killing the cells before spreading wild in my mind and ruining my day.

This is also why I walk so heavily dressed on a warm, muggy morning. Covered up with both hoods over my head; my body sweats out the toxins and impurities. I do this to purge myself. My footsteps are the machine that work and sweat. This is also why I walk fast. I keep my walking speed at a guesstimated 3.5mph. At this pace, I walk one mile in approximately 17 minutes and I will not stop until I’ve walked for at least one hour.

Heading towards Haverstraw on Grandview, I watched a deer jump out into the road. She was beautiful. The deer stopped for a second to look at me. Then she leapt away, jumping over a tall hedge, and the darting through the nearby woods.Her color was unbelievable. I wished the deer could have stayed, but i understood when she ran. after all, I am part of the human race, and we are the most deadliest animals on the face of the Earth.

The rain kept a steady pace and so did I. I was tired but I wanted to sweat out the impurities so that I could replenish my body with fresh water. I see this as a purification process; however, I am not quite sure about the previous impurities in my life and how long it takes to be rid of them. What I mean is; change takes time—and for a long time, I had been led astray. I had been led astray both emotionally and physically. I lost sight of my own importance. I forgot about my health while childishly believing age is only something that happens to old people.

It is this moment I have alone, walking beneath a wet gray sky in the misty rain; I can think best in times like this. I can remove the toxic thoughts, which I hold too tightly.

I started to consider two reoccurring dreams that visit me in the night. The first: I am sitting on a tall cliff facing uncertain scenery. My legs dangle off the edge of the mountain. Though the experience is outer-body, I am eating and watching myself as a spectator. I am standing behind the young, dream-like version of myself.

There is a bear beside me. He is big and black. The bear is not threatening in any way and in my dream. I appear to be sharing my food with the bear without any concern for its strength or ferociousness. .

They say the usual dreams actually last no more than a few fleeting seconds. In my case, this dream seems to last me the entire night. I am not scared of the bear, nor do I have any reason to be. In a way, we strangely relate one another. The bear is odd, unfairly judged, but he is awesome and fearless. If need be, the bear could be mean—but not in my case. In my case the bear is seen as a protector. The bear takes care of me and those in my family. But there is something amiss. In my dream, I see the bear like a watchdog—he would never harm me, but if a stranger came through—nothing good would come for that stranger.

Given to gravity, I see the bear as the weight of the world and I, in my young vulnerable position, sit beside him while trying to find a way to make peace with his strength.

The other dream I have is brief. I dream of a small colorful baby bird that sits cupped palm of my two hands. The bird is wet but beautiful. Its wings are too wet to fly but its colors are too bright and beautiful to be kept. In my dream, I am trying to nurse the bird. I am trying to prepare this little bird for flight, but to no avail, the little bird will not fly away.

These dreams of mine and the long list of complicated thoughts seem to plague my mind as I walk. In some cases, if my thoughts betray me; what I mean is if my thoughts switch to something uncomfortable—I walk faster, allowing the burn in my legs to act as a way to distract myself. Meanwhile, I have built up a good sweat. By now, at least two or three pounds have melted from my body.

Turning on Haverstraw, I walk passed some of the tall homes. I pass over Old Route 202 and continue my heavy footsteps until I reach the other end of Spook Rock. I am breathing heavy now—almost home, but home is not really my goal. Above and beyond my safe return; I walk with the strict intention that I will reach my goal weight. I walk quickly to open my lungs and start the heart moving quicker and quicker.

I have lost close t0 40lbs . . .

Same as heroin or any drug, or mind-expanding experience; I view food as an addiction. It too has a withdrawal process. I am tired. I am irritable. I am hungry, but the foods I eat sound so much less satisfying than say, Buffalo chicken slices of pizza with blue-cheese dressing drooling and dripping from a folded slice as it enters my mouth.

I am currently eating much differently now than ever before. I eat healthy. I stay away from breads and carbs. I stick with lean meats and proteins. I do not allow myself a cheat day as I have learned that addictions are not solved by having cheat days. Same as I understand I cannot drink; I also understand that I need to stay away from certain foods. And that’s fine. My stomach is closer to flat. I do not have abs yet—but I am working at this. My knees hurt much less than when I weighed more than 215lbs. My face is thinner. I look much younger (or so I’m told) and nearly each morning, the same elderly woman greets me as I walk into work with a smile. She tells me, “You lost so much weight,” with a big, denture filled smile.

After a three mile route; I reach home. I walk through the door and undress in the laundry room. I place my sweat-filled clothes in the washing machine and then head upstairs to shower. I weigh myself—which is not something I always enjoy. There are times when I work so hard, but yet, I see little to no results. The scale is an honestly cruel invention. It has no regard for good new or bad. A scale is nothing more than an exclamation point to a guy like me.

This is a record of my morning. Whether this walk hurts or not; I have come to depend on it. I depend on this walk because it helps me unravel from the madness in my head and purge the toxins that ruin my body.

You should try a walk like this sometime
and don’t tell me you can’t do it
because if I can do it

So can you . . .


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