What Really Makes Walking Worthwhile

Deer1_PondMills_09March2016 (2)

Deer enjoying mild weather in March along Thames River in Pond Mills, London, Ontario.

So, it’s a beautiful, balmy winter day. The sun is pouring through the window and the thermometer is stretching for 17C (63F). I’ve been sitting in front of a monitor for eight hours. Time for a walk.

A mild breeze nudges me north, towards the Thames River. The lethargy begins to lift as cramped muscles unknot and the fog of demands drifts back into hiding.

All is well. Rush hour traffic is coming to full peak. Kids are ambling home from school. Dogs are relieved.

My mind wanders back to the eight-point buck I saw by the river in December. I wonder if there’s any chance I’ll see him again. Or the doe I saw last summer.

I dip down the hill leaving houses in my wake. I approach the flood plain with a broad scan over the filtering ponds, following the tree line that guides the river.

Nothing. Perhaps another time.

Puzzling how there can be such calm and stillness in a place with so much humanity mere paces away, pushing ever closer, demanding to take over.

Wait. Was there a flicker? Yes, a point of white, peaking between tan stems. Now two white peaks. Black stillness, stares. A quivering sniff. A deer. Wait. Two.

A camera phone slides from my back pocket, stepping closer, zooming in. Click. Wait. A third.

Now we gaze at each other. One in awe. Three others sensing danger.

Another step closer for a better shot and up they spring, bounding for the trees.
They pause and sniff. I follow. Chests heaving, they stare some more. One leaps into the fallen trees. The others put snout to grass and wander to the river.

One final glance and it’s time to regain my perch and gaze into another world. I push up hill. The breeze, now cool, shoves back.

But I have my prize. And remember why I walk.

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