Day 39

171932Groucho-Marx-Posters“What are those things?” John mutters as we slow down on E________ Road. I’m joining my friend on his regular walking route, and we’ve puased in front of a house that’s been recently renovated.  On the green lawn are bricks and stones, placed in odd pairings.  

Together, we creep across the bright green grass. It’s a pretty comical sight — something out of a Peter Sellers  movie, tiptoeing in plain sight. As if doing the Groucho Marx Crouch would make us any less obvious.

“Must be for Halloween,” John says, scratching his head. I pose forphoto a photo, and we walk on.

John tells me where to turn right, where to turn left.  I don’t think he’d object if I said he’s just a bit (just a wee, tiny bit) anal about his route.  He regularly and faithfully follows the same route through two parks, around a pond, and back through town. He times it on his I-Phone, which keeps a running tally of time elapsed.

This is antithetical to my own walking method. I try to go someplace new, or at least along a slightly modified route, each time I go out — even if it’s just walking on the other side of the street, or crossing at a different intersection as I walk to the drugstore.

But walking this regular route with John, I’m able to appreciate the sensibility of an observant walker as he notes the subtle changes in the houses, trees, parks, and waterways he passes at different times of day and throughout the shifting seasons.

fountain“There’s always the little drama of the fountains,” John says as we pace around the park lake. “Sometimes one fountain is just a little trickle, sometimes both are on, sometimes none.”

It was really quite delightful to see my own town through someone else’s eyes.  I’ve seen the lake a hundred times, but never thought about the fountains having their own little dramas. This opened  my eyes to the merriment of the trees, the plight of the sidewalk cracks, and the outright defiance of roses still blooming in November.  And of course, the puzzle of the oddly-placed pieces of brick and concrete slabs.

Best of all, I’d never have dreamed of creeping around the back of a newly renovated house to look into the family room window if I hadn’t been with John. Truly, I wouldn’t have.

But now, I’ll probably do it again. Groucho Marx style. One big high groucho walkstep at a time, across a lawn, to a window.  Not only because it was fun, but because it’s a semi-proven fact that the Groucho Walk strengthens thigh and butt muscles. Honest to god.

Betcha didn’t know that, did you, John?

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