I have been walking in the early morning for about a month now. In that time, I missed one day, deliberately giving myself a day off and knowing it was imperative I walk the next day. I did.

Walk, walk, walk

When I first began walking, I could leave the house around 6:30 (half six for British readers) and it was mostly light. I might be able to see a few of the brightest stars still shining dimly, but light was on the way.

Time and the planet moved on. It got darker and darker at 6:30 in the morning as we headed toward the autumnal solstice and headed toward the shortest day of the year.

I also had issues with the bus stop in my driveway. After speaking to the parent “in charge” last Friday, I wanted to see what was going to happen in my driveway on Tuesday. So, I needed to be done with my walk by about 6:50 when there was going to be a group of kids in the driveway. That meant I would have to be out of the house at the latest by 6:15. If it is dark at 6:30, it is even darker at 6:15.

My camera was fun on my walks, taking pictures as I meandered through the neighborhood. I saw some beautiful things and some odd things. I took pictures of both. It was fun to see where I had been that morning and post them to Facebook. However, pictures in the dark didn’t work.

So instead of my water bottle in one hand and my camera in the other, I carried a three pound weight in each hand. I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to be doing with these weights as I walk. I do move around a bit, but quite frankly, I think I look like a nut. Even more so than normal.

I walked and made it home in time to surreptitiously watch the kids. They were behaving pretty well until one kid started to run. I don’t know if the dad-in-charge said anything, but that was the point I came outside. All running ceased and I said to the crowd at large how well they were all doing – so far.

I noticed a group of about seven or eight kids ran across the street and started chasing each other through Linda’s yard and around the large shrubs on the corner there. The dad-in-charge did make that stop.

The next day, I again walked in the dark with weights, came home, and the kids did even better. I guess maybe the parents never knew they could tell the entire group they couldn’t behave like hellions or wild children. Once they knew they had the power, they seemed able to use it. Amazing.

Thursday morning was so different. I have had difficulty sleeping for years now. I’m up in the middle of the night regularly. There are many mornings when I awaken between four and five and I’m done sleeping for the  night. But on Thursday, I slept in until 6:50. I was out of the house by 7:00 and the kids were still in the driveway when I left, but the bus was on its way and they were gone without any shrieks barreling up the street.

Yesterday, I didn’t even really worry about it and heard no screaming in the early morning hours. Perhaps we have that problem solved.

But, when do I walk? It is dark at 6:30 but if I wait too much later, it makes me rush to get ready for work. And, if I don’t get out and walk soon after I finally drag myself out of bed in the morning, I will be tempted to go online and then all will be lost. Once I’m on the computer, I’m checking my e-mail, looking at Facebook and MWC, reading Dear Abby and Annie’s Mailbox, clicking on Fark. Hours could have passed.

I can see the difference between the sidewalk and the grass as I walk, even in the dark. And we just had a New Moon which means the least amount of moonlight shining down. I’m carrying my weights as much as a weapon as anything else. I don’t feel unsafe. Traffic is brisk as people go on their way to work. I wouldn’t feel this safe at 4:30 in the morning, but at this time of day, it is dark but okay to be dark and me out in it.

I guess my next step is to talk with Craig about the weights, making them more useful than just possible “blunt instruments” in the unlikely event I’m attacked.

It is only going to get darker as we head toward winter. I need to have a plan. I really do like to walk. But without the camera and looking for shots, I’m getting bored. I guess it is time to put a book on the MP3 player and have some entertainment as I move on down the road.

I need to plan to make sure I keep up at least this minimal amount of exercise. I have to adapt to the world as it is, not as I would like it. On the plus side, it is getting cooler and that’s nice. What I have to do is plan wisely so I can keep on keeping on.

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