The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

May 10, 2007


I have felt that way, at times, in recent weeks and months during the cold, hard winter, and it has sometimes affected my interest in blogging...and occasionally still does.
And many other things.

This past week, I was e-talking to someone I really care about, and I felt a sudden need to go on a walk rather than continuing to talk.

I guess, DOH!, I wanted to walk the walk instead of talk the talk.

The thing is, usually, I'm not the kind of person to just go for a walk. There's no purpose to it, least that's usually my line of thinking. What's the point? What can I see? What can I do?

Purpose. Even thinking that word got me to some contemplation.

It got me to thinking about being a kid and how I used to not need a reason to do anything in particular, I just did what my heart and my body said I wanted to do at that time.

I'd go out collecting insects in the neighborhood back lanes. I'd walk across Coronation Park to the Norwood Flood Bowl to see if anyone was there swimming in the pool or playing football or baseball.

In winter, I'd just grab my hockey stick and gloves and spongie and just head out onto the street, fully expecting -- and usually finding -- some of my friends playing street hockey.

But my life's not like that any more. It's become about hopping in my car and heading to this place or that, driving at 50 km/h (30 mph fer you Amuricans) to here, there and everywhere.

And having everything I drive past being, for all intents and purposes, nothing but a blur. Familiar, but a blur. Seen only from a car. Visited, but only if I drive there.

My need to explore has given way to my need to just get somewhere. From Point A to Point E, with none of the B,C and D between that I used to investigate and experience.

No life, no people, no meeting of strange faces or familiar faces, just life on a road map. So this past week, in sweltering 30 C (almost 90 F, for you Amuricans) temps, I changed all that.

And after recently spending $2,400 to fix up my 1996 Ford, and then having a water pump they installed start leaking, and having them fix it, and then having the &%#@ engine light come on right after that...

I decided that I was far too dependent on the vagaries of my automobile. In fact, I was a slave to it, and the luxuries it affords. But I'm also a victim of being too dependent on those lifeless luxuries.

So I went from this... what I hope will be more of this: walking around my neighborhood and other areas, to get out of my four-door and into the outdoors. To get back to what my true nature is, living.

There's existing and there's living. I have been existing. I'm naturally a bit of a loner and don't need a lot of people around all the time, although I'm far from anti-social.

But a big part of what's made me be that way is my contentment in being alone and doing things on my own, or with one other person, or with my kids.

And now that my kids are older and less dependent on me, my own past is becoming more of my future and part of what I know is my nature and how I can be happiest.

And spinning my wheels driving everywhere in a blur, unless it's to a destination that I want to be heading to, is not it. I don't want the blur, I want clarity and vision and real stuff.

So this past week -- and I apologize for the length of this -- I made an effort to get back to my roots.

I left my car with the "Check Engine" light in the *&^%$# parking stall and checked "out" instead. Walking, that is. Being a bipedal creature with the senses of smell, sight, hearing and witnessing.

With my camera.

I originally set out to take a picture every 100 steps of things I've known are all around me, but which I hadn't truly "seen" for a long time, if ever. Here are some of them.

One of the courtyards in my apartment complex, the grass finally greening, the trees at long last budding...

Kids playing soccer. I used to coach baseball and football...why not now, even though my kids are no longer involved?

These are some East Indian and Asian kids, mostly, playing cricket on a basketball court between my son's future high school (next year) and my daughter's former junior high.
There's a beautiful huge green space within a few minutes' walk of my apartment. I have rarely gone there, only when I can persuade my son to throw a football around.
There are beautiful wooded areas bordering my complex. My son has explored in there, but I haven't. What happened to that sense of seeking mystery? I hope to get it back.
I walked up to the main street where all of my "services" are located: my bank, my insurance agent, my convenience store, my supermarket...just to see them in that walking context.

The saying goes, it's time to stop and smell the roses. I know those aren't roses above, they're tulips or daffodils, those spring flowers that sprout up early and then disappear as quickly as they came up.
Still, I want to smell the roses anyway. And with gas prices going through the roof, my timing couldn't be better...


  1. Oh, well done WW! getting out and about. Seeing all those things you've been missing.Yes, put your name down to coach a scrappy kids' team. Take more photos for us to see. My map (it's very old!) shows W'peg to be flat enough for a bicycle, so why not?
    Of course, I shall still be hurtling around in my 6cyl.tank.My excuse is the heat...

  2. I walk about an hour every day. Maybe I should take my camera with me next time as you've done.
    Thanks WW.

  3. is this a midlife crisis? resist the urge to buy a motorcycle! buy a horse instead, they're great for getting you out in the cold and wet and they do take you home afterwards!

  4. I really enjoyed this post: very zen and contemplative. Also that feeling like you took us with you on this little physical/practical/philosophical journey. The shortest distance between two pints is NEVER a straight line is it?

    PS The gas prices in North America are highest of all here in the metro Vancouver area. I've been riding my son's bike! :)

  5. Hee hee -- now THAT was Freudian. I was really trying to be serious (for once) and really meant to type the shortest distance between two POINTS. I get zinged even when I'm being serious. The univrese doesn't like the huge shift I guess.

  6. Good for you. I think we become detached from nature, from what is real, when we only experience it from behind the safety and impersonality of our vehicles. We don't smell the smells, see the sights and really feel things.

    I used to walk five miles a day...and I need to start up again. Thanks for reminding me of what is important.

  7. well- now you gone and got me thinking!
    with damien getting older and him and i spending gradually less time together... i need to change my focus too. i always knew i'd eventually have most of my time to myself, and i made "plans"... but they're still just plans, nothing concrete. maybe i should start getting a move on on my own future... hhmmmm...

  8. Anonymous6:35 p.m.

    A very good post Chris. As someone has already said it was very contemplative.
    Sometimes I think theres nothing like a walk. Its in fact what I do when I am stressed and it always helps and lets you appreciate your surroundings far more.

    Take care and never stop blogging as I love coming to read here.


  9. Way to go. Aidan and I walk almost everywhere - public transport does the rest, and the car is only for places no train can take us! (Or for when we are buying something we can't take home on a train.) Walking is a great way to get around - you see more, feel more, and of course it's great excercise. I often just "go for a walk" - not TO anywhere, just for the enjoyment of it. Best of luck with your wandering endeavours!

  10. Dinahmow:

    Out and about is what it SHOULD be about, but on foot or on bike. The coaching, maybe, next year.

    It surely IS flat here...I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles...OH YEAH.


    That's one of the beauty things about where you live in relation to downtown Vancouver, I assume...

    ...and the weather. When it's not frigid here, walking can be a beautiful thing.


    If it is a midlife crisis, I've been in one for a long time! I saw a horse today, actually...never could ride one...


    Thanks. HA! I see you corrected yourself on the pints vs. points. No, the globe went off its axis when you got serious there, but I think that karma suits you...

    The thing is, it's really beautiful around where I live, full of huge trees and parks.

    Now I just gotta do it...


    Great to see you back and hope all's well.

    You are EXACTLY right with what you have said. Enjoy those walks.


    Yeah, things move in stages. If it's your time to do more than contemplate, all the best with it. :-)


    Thanks. I might start liking walking so much that blogging will be the thing to go...DOH!

    I doubt that. I think Pam put it best, really. I think everyone could get beyond the blur a bit...


    That's the beauty thing I need to grasp, I go for a walk not TO anywhere, just to go.

    I think that's great you and Aidan walk the way you do. It's healthier, of course, and so much more real.

  11. I love the open road, car or bike, just to go somewhere i have never been before... I used to go for coffee... I would jump in the car drive for 5 hours, buy a coffee in that town and come home, just to have an adventure, maybe take in a few of the local views, or one of the road side atractions...

    Its hard to find the time though

  12. Good on you for waking up to yourself :). Because I don't drive I end up doing quite a bit of walking -but it's usually with a purpose. You remind me that it's good to walk just for enjoyment, just to soak in everything around you and SLOW THINGS DOWN a bit.

  13. Aidan:

    Yeah, Mate, I get the impression you're the ultimate, extreme adventurer...

    I remember you blogging about the five-hour trip to buy coffee. Musta been cold by the time you got it home, huh?


    Even walking with a purpose is a good thing, I keeps you grounded and beyond the blur.


  14. Remember this song..

    "Walk a mile in my shoes
    just walk a mile in my shoes
    Before you abuse, criticize and accuse
    Then walk a mile in my shoes"

    Excellent post.

  15. Good for you for finally doing what you've been wanting to get back to for a long time. You're absolutely right - people never stop to smell the roses anymore and life has become so hectic that we're often looking for efficiency in everything. Efficiency and leisure don't really mix and we should all have time for leisure pursuits.

    I love to walk and, luckily, I have two dogs that ensure I walk at least once a day. The walks always range from 20 minutes to 2 hours and I try to explore different paths, parks, and neighbourhoods.

  16. HE:

    Thanks. If I could out and walk a mile in my own shoes once a day, I'd be a happy camper.


    That's excellent that you can do that, get out and walk with the dogs. It's great medicine, huh?

    Walking is a way to get away from the virtual insanity (remember that song?) and to restore some REAL sanity.


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