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The International Writers Magazine: On The Benefits of a Stroll

Observations While Taking a Walk
Martin Green
I recently took a walk (a good thing to do when having gloomy thoughts about the economy).  It was a brisk day and I found myself remembering how nice it was to have a hot chocolate after being out in winter weather back in New York. 

Blue Heron CA

One thought led to another and I recalled that one reason for leaving New York for California was to get away from the snow.  Another bad thing about last year was that New York had a lot of snow and my sister, who still lives in Long Island, had to rely on her son to dig them out.

     Besides the snow and ice in winter, New York, and most of the East, is hot and humid in the summer.  Just as hot chocolate is great in winter so a cold drink is great in the summer.   In the winter I’d go to the park and shovel snow off the handball courts so we could play.   Then came the hot chocolate.  During the two summers I worked as a stockroom and delivery boy in the garment district, I noted all the candy stores (do I have to explain what those were?) on my delivery routes so I could stop for either egg creams (explanation needed?) or cherry sodas.

     Many things, like hot and cold drinks, are made much better by uncomfortable circumstances preceding them:  a dry house after being caught out in the rain, a lazy-boy chair after a trip to places that don’t have one (aren’t they mandatory?), retiring after 27 years working for the State, and so on. Also, sometimes those uncomfortable circumstances can be okay.   It was fun sliding down the hill in the park on our sleds.   No, I wouldn’t move back East to go sledding, and I’ve never been skiing.  I find it interesting that every winter the local TV channels show motorists trapped in the snow on their way to ski at Tahoe and the people always seem surprised this could happen.

     A lot of thoughts about weather, leading to the thought that since I’ve been in the Sacramento the local weather forecasters have invariable been inaccurate, despite triple Doppler or whatever they now have.   Let’s face it, they can’t predict the movement of weather systems or even if there’ll be one. Of course, during the summer anyone can predict the weather, hot. Wait, the forecasters won’t say it’s hot unless it’s 100 degrees or more; anything less is merely warm.  Yes, I know it’s dry and not humid, but our summers are hot.   So it’s not like being in a sauna, just like being in a furnace.

     As I’m grousing about weather forecasters, let me also say a word about sports writers, local and otherwise.  Their picks are usually about as good as the weather forecasts.   Worse, any player or team that gets beaten in a final contest, World Series, Super Bowl or whatever, is immediately labeled a loser or losers.   Never mind that it must have taken some ability to get to the final.   As a matter of fact, anyone or any team that makes it into the highest pro ranks has to have exceptional skill.   Yet if a manager or coach doesn’t win it all he’s a bum.   Look at the record of any manager or coach just fired and odds are that he was once manager or coach of the year.   Think of Rick Adelman or the Red Sox manager fired after winning two World Series.

     I mentioned high unemployment above.   I’ve heard some radio hosts and some politicians rant about people being given extended unemployment insurance.   Supposedly there are thousands out there loafing around while getting their handouts.   I don’t believe that.   I’m willing to bet most people who’ve lost their jobs in our Recession are doing all they can to find other jobs.   And as in the case of losing coaches or players, other people, including prospective employers, tend to look down upon them.   Unemployed?   Must be a loser.   I’d advise those other people to consider---I could very well be in that place.   Maybe someday they will.

     On my walk, I saw a heron by the pond on Timberrose and, even better, saw it take off (probably because of my presence) and soar away.   I also saw half a dozen ducks on the pond.   I was reminded it’s good to get outside every now and then.   When I returned home with my creaky knees it was good to get into my lazy-boy chair (should be mandatory).     I thought again about the year past and reminded myself that America had weathered many worse things: two World Wars, the real Depression, the 1960’s (when things really began to go bad), Vietnam.   No matter how bad things seem, we’ll weather our current bad times, too.   Here’s looking forward to a better year, which will seem even better when compared to the one just past.

© Martin Green Jan 1st 2012

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