Walking and Talking

I have started walking, one half-hour, four times a week. I’m not sure exactly how far that is, about 10 city blocks. “You could get a Fit Bit,” my daughter Rebekah said. 

I saw a cartoon recently about napping: “As a hobby, the start-up costs for napping are low.” Same thing for walking. I put on my sneakers, grab my cane, and off I go, low-cost entertainment. Of course, I do usually wear my athletic clothes, and I have it on good authority you can spend thousands of dollars on walking and running clothing and equipment. A sport with something for everyone! Still, she was kind enough to take me to the Boulder Running Store to get a good pair of walking shoes.

When my grandchildren Rylan (12), Sean (10) and Carys (6) slept over on Easter weekend, we walked to the park twice. The kids hike in the mountains with their parents and run races, so ten blocks didn’t seem far to them. Our neighborhood park is called Del Mar Park. It is surrounded by Del Mar Circle, no seas anywhere to be found, though there is a swimming pool at the park. How do streets and parks get named? Oceanside, maybe?

In a half hour I can walk east to the park or to my church a little up the block on Del Mar, St.Stephen’s Episcopal. There is a little free library by the Aurora Center for Active Adults (another fantasy name, it’s the Senior Center), located next to the municipal pool, and when we are not in a pandemic I go there. On the far east side of Del Mar Circle there is a huge little free library (LFL) stocked by the UCC church members, nice folks.

Del Mar Circle is a substantial park--I’d like to put another LFL in front of St. Stephen’s at the bus stop, maybe with a free food box. My husband Jesse was going to build one for the church, as he did in our previous city. I'm sorry to say that Jesse passed away in February. He did finish a number of bird houses this past winter, which will go up as soon as it quits snowing in Denver. 

If I walk a westerly course, my loop eventually passes the elementary school playground. The sound of children at recess brings back memories of my own kindergarten days in Iowa, those of my little girls in Colorado and Utah, and now, my grandchildren, at Skyview Academy in Colorado. l count those schoolyards like beads on a necklace linked by that joyous, raucous sound of children playing.

Another pleasure of walking the neighborhood is seeing who has flowers already, despite the recent snows, and who is waiting, like me, to pop pansies into the ground. In the breaks between blizzards the front yards are dotted with bright yellow dandelions.

From April to November Jesse was out planting flowers, moving rocks, transplanting rose bushes.This past winter Jesse had me order $150 worth of plants and seeds, which have not arrived yet. (Colorado is notorious for May blizzards, even June blizzards, sometimes. But you can’t let that stop you.)

Flowers were always Jesse’s thing, and being out in the yard every day he knew everyone in the neighborhood as they would stop by to chat. I’ve always been more of an indoor girl. I picked Jesse’s lovely, fragrant hyacinths poking through the snow by the front porch. An ancient Greek poet recommended, if you have to choose between bread and flowers, “Buy hyacinths to feed the soul.”   

For Easter the church sent everyone packages of milkweed seeds to save the monarch butterflies. I have another package of seeds to grow flowers to feed the bees in Honor of Earth Day.  Looks like I’ll be championing the birds and the bees this year. And the butterflies.

Speaking of ancient Greeks, my goal is to walk a marathon, which I hope will include going on some 5k and 10k walks with my daughters and their spouses and my grandchildren. I am looking for a purple cane like the one in Abi’s drawing above. Hot-hot-hot accessory for this little old Active Adult! The cane is not just for looks, by the way. I have a pair of hips that whine while I walk. But no point in sitting home. My thighs and calves are getting stronger with all this walking.

So watch out, Park East Neighborhood! This Still Lovely It Girl (see above) is out and about cheering Spring and celebrating Quarantine’s end. Maybe soon without masks!

Talk to you soon!


Michele Parish Zuniga

P.S. I’m up for new spring clothes as much as anyone. I like the new Just Abi “Run With It” line, a Just Abi Athletic Collection. An accompanying running club is being formed. I am getting Abi’s cute sweats and jacket for my long walks. We launch Run With It on Amazon this Friday!  Look for Run With It Just Abi Athletic Collection and voila! Of course you can find everything Just Abi on www.LovelyandStrong.com , too. Also, Like Us on Facebook!


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