Walking on sunshine. How quaint.

What a treat on the third of March to be walking outside in shirtsleeves, shaking off the cobwebs and breathing in cool, unfrigid air — especially when the temperature on the second of March didn’t venture above freezing. I thought the neighborhood would be full of walkers, as it usually is on warmer days, but the roads were mine alone. 

Such high hopes for such a walk on such a day. How exhilarating, how cleansing. How lovely to see the earth, How promising to hear water rushing in the creek as if spring were already here. How satisfying to see the sad remains of melting snowmen in soggy yards. How reassuring that my favorite houses are none the worse for winter wear.

 And oh, how painful. 

I haven’t “power walked” in four months — a fact I am acutely aware of before plodding half a lap. Even my pedometer — usually quite inspiring — failed me, apparently unwilling to be roused from its peaceful winter slumber to measure a few thousand stinkin’ steps.

It’s amazing how slowly watch hands can move. (Only 20 minutes? What about now? Four more minutes — is that all?) And it’s downright pathetic that hills you climbed not so long ago with nary a huff now leave you puffing quite audibly. And that you skip the big hill altogether to do the “flat part,” and end up skipping half of that so you don’t have to walk past crazy neighborhood eccentric guy again, who is loading wood ever so slowly into his dilapidated pick-up and, you swear, eyeing you as you walk quickly by, holding your breath as you think “don’t talk to me, don’t talk to me, don’t talk to me, don’t talk to me. whew.” And then you catch a glimpse of all those unflattering bulges in your shadow that even late-afternoon lankiness can’t hide.

Of course, there is some satisfaction in having walked for 38 minutes instead of sitting in front of the computer or lounging in front of the TV. Satisfaction that will quickly be replaced by aching muscles. But no worries, I’ll have plenty of time to recover — 65-degree March days are as fleeting as my willpower. When the next warm day surfaces (in April), I can lace up my tennies and start the whole painful getting-back-in-shape process all over again. As this process takes longer every year, I should be hitting my stride in late July — just in time for summer heat to force me inside again.

I really don’t think I need buns of steel. 
I’d be happy with buns of cinnamon. 
                                   ~ Ellen DeGeneres