The Adventures of Walking
Just before all the snow melted in the middle of January, I walked to pick up my daughter from her first day back at school after the holiday break. The first thing she did when we started to walk off the school property was ask if she could put on her boots because there was a pile of snow taller than her which she wanted to climb.
You see, many days we pick her up in our car because our days are so full and fast. Right now, however, I’m on paternity leave for the birth of Aderyn’s baby brother Rohan so I’m helping out with everything around the house, including getting Aderyn to and from school. One of the reasons we chose to live where we do is precisely because it is a “very walkable” neighborhood with a walkscore of 71. Add to this all the recent attention to how sitting is killing us and I thought it would be a good practice for me to walk to pick up my daughter, and of course, there are the environmental benefits and cost savings of not driving.
Aderyn didn’t really expect to walk home; she merely had her shoes on and wasn’t prepared for an adventure going home. As soon as her boots were on, her feet were climbing up the snow pile, and after only a few minutes of conquering it, she wanted to slide down on her bottom to get back on the ground. Sadly for her, school clothes aren’t conducive to sliding down snow piles.
As quickly as the pile invited her to climb it, a large empty lot full of melting snow invited her to run through it, picking up snow on the way, which ended up as broken snowballs on and in my coat.
Really, who would have imagined walking home would lead to so many adventures? Trekking through the vacant lot allowed us to pass through a friendly neighbor’s yard as a shortcut where Aderyn picked up a two-inch piece of ice the size of a cookie sheet! No surprise it didn’t last long before she smashed it on the sidewalk to see all the pieces it broke into.
Back on the sidewalk the name of the game was “throw snowballs at daddy” again, which was really quite fun as I dodged, ducked, and got hit with snowballs. The game was only interrupted long enough to splash in puddles along the way.
Next, we made our mark in the snow on top of a short retaining wall where we guided our gloved hands through the snow, knocking plenty off in the process. We soon turned down the big hill by our house where Aderyn’s imagination ran as fast as someone sledding down the hill. In fact, she began to imagine how fun it would be to sled down the 2 1/2-block hill on the snow-packed sidewalk, of course only to magically stop before crossing into the street. When I pointed out how hard it would be to stop a sled moving at that speed, she thought a hill as high as the trees might do the trick to slow us down. And once we would be stopped at the top of this hill-as-high-as-the-trees, we could start over by sledding down the backside of the giant snow hill.
By the time we figured all this out we were feeling even more adventurous so we cut through an old abandoned alley to get to our house from the backyard. All of this made me feel like our journey home from school was just like the kids’ dashed trail in Family Circus comics.
The point is, none of this would have happened had we driven home. Not to mention it was the slow pace that created enough space in my mind to be so present to Aderyn, especially when she asked if we could go sledding. Luckily for me, I had the presence enough to say yes. However, the sledding, getting “air-time”, and pulling daddy down the hill stories will have to wait for another time.
Needless to say whenever I walk up to get her after school her first question is now, “Did you walk?” quickly followed by, “Let’s have an adventure!”
Where did you walk today?
What adventures do you make time for in your day?