As many of the regulars around here know, I try really hard to walk to and from work every day. Work is only a mile from my house and it's through a nice neighborhood. Also, driving to work only saves me a few minutes by the time I get there, get parked and get inside. But more than anything, what I like about walking is that it's my version of a commute - time by myself with the input that I choose, rather than the stuff that is chosen for me.
I was thinking about this on the way home from work tonight and how I feel like the walk home from work is almost always better than the walk to work. You might be tempted to think that this reflects on how I feel about my job but you'd be wrong. The walk to work is filled with stress and deadlines. I know the exact moment at which I must leave to get there on time. Nowadays, with the sidewalks jam-packed full of ice, you have to build in even more time to get there. And then there are the days that I leave past the time by which I know I have to leave and then arrive at work earlier than I do when I give myself plenty of time. Perhaps this is a wormhole. I'm not sure.
But the walk home is always better, even (and especially) after days from hell. There are no deadlines, no stress of "must get home." Again, it's time for me - time that is harder and harder to come by these days as my child grows up and as Heidi's writing career really starts to take off. Tonight the walk home was more arduous than usual - even in my YakTrax, it was still slippery. It's above freezing and the ice is starting to come off the tree, but there's so much ice and water on the sidewalks that walking is treacherous at its best. There's a shellac of ice on the snow that's starting to give way in places. The icicles on the houses are works of art that belie the damage they do to roofs and eaves. Sitting here, I can hear the ice coming off the roof and eaves and if we weren't already having the eaves replaced this year, I'm starting to think that we would be looking into it anyway.
I didn't mind how hard the walk was tonight, because somewhere in all that, you find the center again.
Many mornings I say "screw it" and drive. Some mornings I have to. But when I don't walk, I miss it.