Six days, six walks

Last year at this time, I was well settled in a daily walking routine. Often, I just strolled around my neighbourhood, but sometimes I was joined by my partner, and we would head to one of the two waterfront walks in downtown Kingston or to a nearby conservation area. About once a week, I walked with my son on his farm and the adjacent conservation area. I also walked with friends and other family members, but less regularly.

On average, I walked three to four kilometres a day – hardly competition for serious walkers and not even in the same game as runners but it was good for my body and even better for my soul, while also providing a way for me to socialize while not getting too up close and personal.

I did well until the hot muggy weather of July arrived and, my energy sucked out of me by the humidity, I stopped walking almost entirely. All fall, I have been telling myself to get back at it, and all fall I have found excuses not to.

Even though I don’t make new year’s resolutions, I did use January 1st (and my daughter’s text that she had just finished an eight-kilometre race) as an excuse to kick myself back into action. My partner and I – and about half of Kingston, it seemed – headed to the Portsmouth Village waterfront walk, finally finished after more than a year of development. We walked about three kilometres, exchanging greetings with those we encountered and contemplating the year we had left behind and the one looming ahead.

With one walk under my belt, it didn’t seem as difficult to get out the next morning; this time, just for a walk around the neighbourhood but, with a heavy snowfall the night before, the stroll was quiet and pretty. Since then, I have managed a walk of some kind every day, and I hope that this has established enough of a pattern for my routine-bound brain to keep me at it regularly for the next few months.

A not so festive season

One of the ways I managed the festive season restrictions last year was by telling myself it would only be for one year that we could not see friends and family as we usually do. Such optimism seemed foolish this year, so we looked for ways to enjoy and appreciate what we could do rather than thinking too much about what we were missing,

I turned my negative rapid antigen covid test result into a holiday necklace to create some cheer out of the very depressing reality of having to pass a test in order to see family members. It’s a work in progress, and I can add new test results as I have them.

With few big meals to prepare and no holiday travel, I had time to read almost every afternoon, which I did most often on the couch, with the company of my cat purring her happiness while lying on my chest. There’s not much better than this in my world.

We enjoyed wonderful meals with our closest friends and family (in small numbers and with everyone tested) and did our annual tour of festive season lights in neighbourhoods throughout the city.

I got in the habit of staying in bed until 8 or 9, which I thoroughly enjoyed; a habit that has come to an end now that the new year is upon us and I am back to my regular work schedule.

What does 2022 hold?

The upcoming year is going to require a lot of hope. We need to see serious action taken by governments to address the climate crisis. It’s past time for meaningful steps to create true reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in this country. 2022 would be a great year for Canada to create and implement a national action plan to end violence against women.

In my little world, I have hopes about much smaller and less important things. I hope that the mid-February Courtney Barnett concert for which we have tickets will be able to go ahead.  I hope the Screening Room reopens soon, so I can make movie-going a regular part of my routine again. I hope we’ll be able to gather in larger numbers before too much longer. In the meantime, I hope that the box of 25 rapid antigen test kits that I recently ordered will get here soon so we can see people safely and comfortably. I hope I can resume at least some of my work-required travel.

Dare I say this? I hope that before the year is over, we can say goodbye to face masks.

Most of all, I hope the pandemic stops shaping almost every aspect of our lives and, by 2023, we can move on to lives filled with other joys and challenges.

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