Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Walk On The Wild Side With Betty


Or This?

Last night I looked around the bedroom and saw how very close I was to having an entire episode of a TLC program devoted to me and my squalor. Somehow, the mess had gotten out of control and so before I went to bed, I wrote out a long, satisfying list of how I was going to rectify this situation and be a productive member of society once again.

This morning, at 6:00, I reached for my list to remind myself of the urgency of the situation, and I rolled out of bed, stepped over the clothes and walked past the numerous dishes stacked up on the dresser. It was time to get this situation under control. Because I am a creature of habit, I stepped outside to get the newspaper--not to read it! No! No Time! Must Clean!

But when I walked outside, it all changed. Intoxicated by the misty air, the silence, the solitude, I was drawn, enticed, beguiled, seduced, tempted, by the morning.

I went back to the bedroom, dug out my MBT's from under a pile of towels and dirty jeans, put them on, grabbed my poles and set off on a long walk.

Morning walks are the best. We have established here in this blog that Betty is a lark. I am up at 6:00 and ready to go. For the owls among us, I am sure a walk at 6:00am is a horrifying scenario, but I love to get out there first thing in the morning.

For one thing, there's community in this solitary activity. I tend to see the same people day after day. We wave and nod to each other. I don't even know their names, but when one has been missing for awhile, I start to worry. When I see them back out, I wave and nod again and say, "Glad to see you back!" I used to walk Maddie in the morning and when she switched to night (shorter) walks, many people stopped to ask about her, worried that something had happened.

As a morning walker, I see a lot of people emerge from their homes first thing in the morning, fresh from their beds. I have noticed that a great many people do the same thing: they stand and survey their lawns, slowly looking around, nodding a bit as they inspect their property. Slowly, they walk to the end of their drives, pick up newspapers, look down the street one way and then the other, then view the front of their homes with that same slow sense of inspection.

I can't help but think this is a holdover from our earlier days as a species. How many years have creatures and human beings alike, crawled out of their respective sleeping holes, stepped out onto the savanna, the tundra, the great plains, to check for changes in their environments? On my walks I try to creep by so as not to disturb this moment, to let this necessary step in our anthropological make-up take place.

Speaking of throwbacks to our evolutionary history, I read once that if you get out first thing in the morning and go for a walk, you are sending your caveman-linked brain the message that all is well, you are out on a hunt, and your metabolism will actually respond to this activity. If, on the other hand, you don't get out and walk, your caveman-linked brain thinks, "Oh, oh, my human is not hunting. There must be a famine. Therefore I will limit my metabolic energy and watch the television all day."

Well, Betty has hunted today, my people. The brain is engaged. I have surveyed my tundra/plain/savanna. All is well.

Now I guess I had better get to that bedroom before they send that camera crew, host, and psychologist over.

Hope you all have happy Sundays!


LoisW said...

Love the pictures you chose to go with this piece. I'm an owl, but on a rare day when I do rise and shine I am always amazed at the morning. And that there actually are people who get up and at 'em at 5 am to jog. Whew!

Bossy Betty said...

Yeah, those joggers are amazing! I prefer just walking. Hey, I might be a bit of a nut, but I'm a slow one!