Walking Out the Lockdown

It’s mid February. The dead of winter. It’s cold and there’s a fresh blanket of snow on our street that’s about to be completely saturated with salt by city-appointed snow removal workers. I love winter and being outdoors, but the salt is everywhere. It’s insidious. Crunching incessantly below my feet as I walk in any direction, like fingernails scraping across a chalkboard.

We throw down obscene amounts of salt in the city of Toronto. I wonder about the environmental implications of all that salt and various engineered snow-melting mixtures entering our water; the impact on trees, shrubs, the local wildlife, our dogs’ paws. Is it really so necessary? It’s as though there’s a refusal to acknowledge the very existence of winter, that any discernible accumulation of snow must be completely eliminated — immediately — from city sidewalks, private and commercial properties because, god forbid, someone could slip and fall.

I love walking though. It’s an easy, healthy activity during these ongoing lockdowns. As a recent Harvard Business Review article points out:

“Walking is one of the simplest and most strategic things you can do for yourself. It takes little preparation, minimal effort, no special equipment, and it can contract or expand to fit the exact amount of time you have available.”

Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Walk — Deborah Grayson Riegel

The CDC goes on to say, a moderate-to-vigorous walk can improve the quality of our sleep, thinking, and learning and thwart any symptoms of anxiety. Regular walking can also boost memory and attention. Our brain cells build new connections (important as we age) and our creativity gets a charge too!

After a long brisk walk I feel invigorated and better able to think laterally and come up with higher quality solutions to problems at hand. The doldrums of thought are effectively banished. An inspiring Wade Davis talk comes to mind:

“Creativity is not the motivation of action, it is by definition the consequence of action. You have to do what needs to be done and only then ask whether it was possible or permissable. Pessimism is an indulgence, dispair an insult to the imagination just as orthodoxy is the enemy of invention.”

Feeling Great at 65, ideacity 2019 — Wade Davis

Now, I am turning off the computer. Getting up off my ass and going out for a walk.