There have been many disruptions in my daily outdoor walking ritual in the last few months, cold and darkness accounting for most, but I am happy to report that I am back to my early morning walks! Two photos below, taken yesterday and the day before, show how beautiful it is out there and why I love these walks.
This week, I have been focused on finishing one of my enjoyable reading challenges. It’s a great feeling to meet a challenge one sets for oneself! However, it’s another level of good feeling to meet a major challenge that Life throws at you. In the last month, my husband has been faced with another major physical and mental challenge related to his Stage IV metastasized cancer.
One month ago, he finished the radiation treatment he underwent to hopefully lessen the pain in his hip caused by the bone metastasis there. He walked into the five-day treatment on the first day, unaided but limping from his sore hip. Unfortunately, by the end of the five days, he was suffering from a not-so-common side effect from the treatment called a “pain flare, ” which is an inflammation of the lining of the bone due to the radiation. And it is extremely painful. So for his final treatment, I had to wheel him into the building in a wheel chair.
The inflammation was treated, the pain has slowly lessened throughout the month, and Byron has worked hard to regain his mobility. Truly a challenge! But he has embraced each step in this process, which started with the arrival of a cane we ordered on the day after that final treatment because he could not walk unsupported. A few days later, a simple walker was delivered to our porch, a surprise ordered by his primary care physician! He was delighted with it because he was much steadier getting around the house and could now do some limited walking outdoors. After a week with that more limited walker, we went shopping for his “off road walker,” as he calls it. And he was thrilled with the new walker we found!
So now, he does laps around the house with his fancy walker. We load it in the car and walk the sidewalks around the campus here in this university town. And the more he walks, the better he feels, even though energy and endurance are limited. It was not the kind of month we expected, but I am so proud of the way my husband faced the pain and the setback, and embraced the challenge to return to better mobility, one level at a time.
Someday I would love to go walking in Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom! I would love to explore the literary landscapes, visit the home of the Brontes, see for myself the moors described in The Secret Garden and in Wuthering Heights. But in the meantime, I have been doing some “virtual walking” around Yorkshire, and getting to know some of its famous landmarks.
This virtual walking is really a lot of fun! I have connected my Fitbit, which tracks my daily steps, to a non-profit website (and app) out of Scotland called “World Walking.” This organization was designed to help motivate people to walk more and focus on good health.
They have put together many different walks you can choose, and you can walk solo or create a team of walking friends to help you reach your chosen destination. It’s teamwork rather than competition. When you choose your walk, it is broken up into milestones, which are destinations you reach on your way to finishing the complete walk. For each milestone, there are photos and a written section that explains the historical and cultural significance of that location. There is also a link so you can see the street view on Google and look around you at almost any time!
I have loved getting to know more about Yorkshire! It has definitely encouraged and increased my walking — it takes 547,880 steps to complete my Yorkshire route!
Becoming more familiar with that part of England has also piqued my interest in the literature that comes from that area. There are many authors that are either from Yorkshire or who lived and died there, or who live there now. Susan Hill was born in Yorkshire. The Bronte sisters are perhaps the most famous writers who lived and died there. J.R.R. Tolkien, Alan Bennett, Winifred Holtby, Joanne Harris, Kate Atkinson, are all authors with connections to Yorkshire. I originally thought that as I did my virtual walking around Yorkshire (see the map of my route), that I would read books by these authors. I have been reading (and loving) some of Susan Hill’s books, and I am now listening to the audiobook of Charlotte Bronte’s, Jane Eyre, but I’m afraid I will finish my walking goal before I’m able to put much of a dent into my Reading_Yorkshire goal!
If you are a walker, or interested in doing more walking, you would find this site very motivating. Please do check out worldwalking.org!
March has been another busy month. Despite the many obligations and activities that kept me busy, I managed to finish reading the above five books and am in the middle of three others!
Early in the month, I joined The Classics Club, which was something I had thought about doing for years and so finally decided to just jump in. I put together a list of 50 books to read in 5 years, and filled my list with books I already own and really want to read, so there are some very nice choices ready for me. In March I read three books from that list and am almost finished with The Moorland Cottage, by Elizabeth Gaskell, which was the book on my list that was chosen as the “Spin” book for March/April. I’ve always loved reading the classics, for both adults and children, and so this is a challenge/group that fits me well.
Some of the other things that kept me very busy in March were my knitting and my walking. Because March was such a rainy month (record-setting, flood level rains!), I was indoors a lot and managed to finish two knitting projects — a scarf for me and a baby blanket for a soon-to-arrive grand nephew! (I love being a great aunt! My nephew calls us “Graunt” and “Gruncle”. )
I’ve also become a serious walker in the last year thanks to my 82-year-old walking partner, Gloria. She is a runner, and I’m a fast walker, so we’re the perfect match at our ages/stages of life! We walk/run a 5k distance twice a week, and meet in exercise class 3 days a week. In March, we both participated in the Shamrock Run in downtown Portland. Gloria finished 1st in her age division, and I came in 24th in my division. A very successful race for both of us!
March definitely came in like a lion, with an incredible number of storms and an amazing amount of rain. It’s going out today like a lamb, with mostly sunny skies and no rain. In between the lion and the lamb, came a lot of enjoyable reading and other activities.