If you have been a reader for a while, you know how much I love a long walk. The last few months have kept me indoors because of the cold weather but once we got that 40 degree weather, I was eager to get back outside. I’ll admit that my jeans were a little snug but I was excited to get out of pajama pants and into real clothes. My route doesn’t change much and with my daily walks in the fall I have explored most of our neighborhood. Overtime I watched my neighborhood go from blooming trees, lush green sidewalk landscaping and warm sunshine rays to crunchy leaves and a cool breeze. Nowadays on my walks, I see dead tree limbs, bare bushes and dirty streets caused from the never ending cycle of melting snow with a new layer of snow before the rain can clean the streets. I’m hoping that the warm weather stays and brings life back into the many gardens and trees in our neighborhood.
For a neighborhood we recently moved into, I could walk these streets with my eyes closed. One thing I got out of this lockdown was being able to get familiar with each street and block. I was spoiled living in a beach town my whole life where everyone knew everyone. In a city, it’s a big world and I can feel small living in it. Neighbors rarely talk to each other with the hustle that comes with the city life. With everyone at home the last year, I’ve noticed railings have been painted, sidewalks repaired and other home projects keeping neighbors busy. When I walk past fellow walkers, we give each other an awkward wave as we step aside to let the other person pass or a head nod as we acknowledge our fellow walker. Cities are not meant to be this empty so when I see people, we are eager to make eye contact and smile even though it’s hidden under a mask. There is this sense of grace we are giving one another; a lighthearted joke and smile as a way to communicate, “I feel the same way.” I’ve had more conversations with our mailman and our Amazon drivers before 2020. I hope when this lockdown ends and things start opening up again, we continue to give one another grace and know how far a smile goes to brighten someones day. The once invisible workers are some of our most valuable workers keeping us safe and comfortable at home. I can only hope they get the praise they very much deserve.
Walking past businesses and restaurants in Rittenhouse makes me smile to see the busy foot traffic and creative efforts to make outdoor dining safe and fun. Philadelphia is not a quiet city and it’s working hard to stay relevant and busy. This time last year I was itching to get out of our house and missing our “old normal”. I found walks to be therapeutic and a great way to get some exercise in. It doesn’t matter where you live or how much money you have in your wallet, anyone can go on a walk and get inspired.