Willie Nelson croons in his popular (and often quoted) tune: “On the road again, just can’t wait to get back on the road again.”
That’s a song I can relate to – because every morning and evening my mom and I get “on the road again” and go for a walk.
You see, a quiet side road runs right by our house and is perfect for a stroll. And while we began walking in the hopes of getting in shape, we have both found there are other added benefits.
For one, it’s nice to get outside – especially during the early morning hours. Often, there’s a cool, thin fog that coats our road. The sun sneaks its way – almost shyly – through the clouds in delicate beams. The sky is bright and newly blue. The chilled night air still lingers.
And, then, come the evenings: The setting sun – now old with age as another day ends – paints the sky with oranges and reds. Horses grazing nearby flick their tails, shake their heads, or occasionally run to a barn that is just outside our line of vision.
And every day, there seems to be something new on our walk (even though it’s the same path, the same road). A blossom on the brink of blooming one day is suddenly a beautiful flower the next. Wild rabbits – many of them young – hop in leap-frog like games from one yard to the next.
Mom and I talk during our walks: about everything, about nothing. And having that guaranteed time with my mom every day is probably the best part of our daily strolls.
So, yes, my mom and I love walking.
But it’s not all sunshine and galloping horses – there is a dark side to getting a daily dose of exercise.
The first comes with possibly the most-hated phrase in the American vernacular: the alarm clock.
Ah, yes, when that alarm goes off at 6:30 in the morning, there is nothing I want to do more than hit it off, curl back in my cocoon-like blankets, and pretend it’s a Saturday.
To quote my favorite Facebook meme: “I can’t get out of bed. The blankets have accepted me as one of their own, and if I leave now, I may lose their trust.”
But, get out of bed I do.
Then comes the next problem (one that has been particularly troublesome this year): Rain.
Because, Rain, listen: I’m glad that you haven’t forgotten about our little part of the country. I know that there are other places in the world that desperately miss you. I know you keep us cool, water our crops – and I know that, overall, your intentions are usually good.
But, Rain, I am glad that you have, seemingly, taken a nice vacation. It’s healthy for you (I mean, you had to be over-exerting yourself), and it’s good for us – because it means Mom and I don’t have to juggle umbrellas during our little strolls.
Yet, even if I manage to crawl out of bed, and if the weather is clear, Mom and I still have to stay on our toes.
Why? Well, because our little back road often feels like the most popular back road in the entire county.
Most of the time, you can tell when a car is coming. There’s a soft humming in the distance as a vehicle draws closer, and we have plenty of time to get into the ditch line.
But then, there are the ninja cars. The ones with motors so silent they could probably sneak into a museum and steal a diamond.
Those come upon us suddenly. And I know we’ve made (probably rather humorous) dashes to the ditch.
So, I hope you see that walking isn’t simply putting one foot in front of the other.
But, in all seriousness, I know walking is a pretty easy form of exercise. My brother – who runs and lifts weights – has a much more strenuous routine than Mom and me.
However, all joking aside, I really do think that there is more to walking. Like I wrote earlier: those peaceful moments surrounded by nature, those irreplaceable conversations with my mom – those are so much more than simple exercise.
And even the things I joked about — getting out of bed, avoiding rain, and watching for cars – those mean something, too. There’s a certain amount of perseverance, determination and care that comes with tackling those little annoyances.
Of course, that is true for many things in life. Even things we enjoy often take work. Nothing comes easily – and if something did, it probably would mean quite a bit less to us.
So, yes, as Mr. Nelson said: I just can’t wait to get back on the road again.
Reach Sarah Allen at 937-393-3456, ext. 1680, or on Twitter @SarahAllenHTG.