Day 216

NYC skyline from Mills Reservation

“You know what?” Cynthia said on Saturday. “You really get around, don’t you?”

I can assure you, folks, she meant that in the best possible way. Anyway, she’s right. I do get around.

Seeing new towns, cities, and countries, meeting new people and learning how others live — whether it’s in India like our Mittaipink walker Kalyani; in  Lambertville NJ where a walk along my sister-in-law’s  gorgeous country road takes you by a  ramshackled Rod ‘n Gun Club; or in Paris…the discovery and advenutre of the new and unfamiliar is stimulating and expansive. It makes me feel like an active citizen of the world, and that makes me feel engaged and alive.

On the other hand, trying something new every week or every day might also be my way of trying to escape, or avoid, my own backyard. And if I like my life, my house, my family and my friends, it seems like I might be missing out on something if I’m always sauntering as far from home as I can get on a given day.

So last week I decided to stay close to home. Every walk I took was a walk in Montclair, either right from my own front door, or wherever a five minute drive would find me.

As many times as I’ve walked through Mills Reservation on the edge of town, I found new sights and fresh beauty when I walked there twice during the week. The sun coming through the trees like an inspirational poster that says “Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life”, a man walking along the rim of the ridge reading a book (!) while his dog trailed behind him, and the beauty of seeing the city skyline from the small piece of forest in my town just 12 miles west of the Lincoln Tunnel, were all reminders that there’s plenty  that is fresh, lovely, and surprising close to home.  If only I can resist the impulse to travel further afield to find those things.

Please tell me what you like the most about walking close to home. Is it pleasure in the familiar? Comfort in routine? Or is it something else? I’d love to hear from you. You can post here, or write to me at Who knows, your observations may find their way into the MyBigWalk book some day.

** Henry David Thoreau said this in his lecture cum essay, Walking, circa 1861.