We Walk because They Walk – a Weekend Walkabout post

It had been a bad night.

Object of affection, so angrily hurled from the crib in the dark.
Object of affection, so angrily hurled from the crib in the dark.

It was one of those evenings when I really should have gone to bed at 9:00…but, of course, didn’t. When I finally crawled under the covers, no sooner had my head hit the pillow than I started to hear Abigail cough… and cough… and cough. Her cold had flared up again and her poor little lungs just don’t like colds. We bundled her in to the bathroom while we dug around in search of unexpired Albuterol. One breathing treatment later, we all headed back to bed.

Two hours later, it was Mae who was up coughing. I went upstairs, rocked her, settled her down. And again a half an hour after that. And then things get kind of fuzzy. Was it 4:00 a.m.? 5:00? Really, no idea, but it was a very long night. (As it turns out, she has another ear infection.)

(And because I know that I’d be thinking it, I should digress here to note that my husband and I have a well-honed alternating system for night-wakings. I drew the short straw this time, but he more than pulls his weight.)

I think it’s fair to say that I didn’t greet the morning with joy. But we were scheduled to leave at 8:00 a.m. in order to participate in the local CROP Walk, an event which I normally love, so I WAS required to greet the morning in some fashion.

Love that somebody rode their beautiful vintage Schwinn to the CROP walk.
Love that somebody rode their beautiful vintage Schwinn to the CROP walk.

The CROP Walk is a fundraiser to fight world hunger. Its design splits whatever money is raised between local organizations and far-flung locales, so it supports the Buen Pastor center for migrant children here in Holland, but also supports projects in states like Mississippi and countries like Serbia and Pakistan. And individual walkers can designate charities of their choice, if they prefer. It’s really a great program.

As painful as the morning was, there was something appropriate about doing this walk on so little sleep. On average, a woman in a developing country in Africa or Asia walks about 3.7 miles to get water each day. As my fist clutched that travel mug of coffee, I thought about the woman on the other side of the world who makes this walk on a daily basis just to get enough water to make it through the day, whether her kids sleep or not.

I’m so weak.

That there was a bit of irony here wasn’t lost on me. I spend a great deal of time supporting active transportation as a lifestyle… and yet in this event I walk as almost a sort of penance. But the dose makes the poison, as they say. How similar is walking to school to walking to get water? Food for thought, to be sure.

At any rate, it WAS a beautiful morning for a walk. And it gave us the opportunity to see what it’s like for members of our community who walk for transportation, too, many of whom don’t have a choice in the matter. We saw this several times:

Dead-end sidewalk. Honestly. Why even bother?
Dead-end sidewalk. Honestly. Why even bother?

Of course, we also got to watch the the pea-green buds just beginning to unfurl their little leaves. We saw the first forsythias in bloom, and the girls discovered just how sweet violets smell as we encountered them along the path.

We saw the tree swing that we all dreamed of as children…

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And the beautiful blooms of a long-awaited spring.

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All the while chatting with friends and earning ourselves a donut or two. And isn’t that what active transportation is all about? Using our bodies the way they were designed to be used, experiencing the small beauties around us, and engaging with other people. LOVE.

It was Tulip Time… did you do a walkabout this weekend?

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