Friday, February 5, 2016

30 Minutes a Day: Before and After

In spring of 2015, I implemented a tradition of taking a 30-minute walk. I strolled. I meandered. I gave myself a break. I took photographs. You can read more about it here.

The walk morphed a bit in the summer of 2015 and again in the fall. Finally, I fired it.

In December of 2015 I was experiencing holiday stress. I took up my 30-minute walk again. First, I un-fired it. Then I changed it.

The other walks I took earlier that year were slow. I decided that even though I was alternating cardio with yoga and Pilates most days, I needed even more vigorous movement in my day. So I instituted a 15-minute power walk. At the end of the 15 minutes, I'd do a slower walk and take some photographs or just look around.

It turns out that this walk was working out beautifully and the extra pumped up movement paired with slower movement was putting a dent in my anxiety and bad holiday attitude.

I had no reason to stop doing my walks as December 2015 turned into January 2016. Except for one thing. I broke my ankle.

I wasn't exercising, power walking or doing anything adventurous when it happened.

I was walking down the street minding my own business. The sidewalk wasn't icy or unusual. It was a run of the mill sidewalk. But my foot got caught in a crack and stayed there when I fell. That's how I ended up with a mild fracture and a bad sprain.

I adjusted to the lack of my usual movement. I took up guided meditation.

After starting PT and healing a lot, I decided to go for a walk outside without my orthopedic boot. I was wearing regular sneakers.

I went around the block twice. I became accustomed to the uneven surfaces, the inclines, the dips and the hit of fresh air.

I stayed inside during a massive snowstorm. The next day I made my way in a careful fashion to Chinatown for my daughter's birthday party.

The next afternoon, I went around and around my block, at a healthy clip for 15 minutes. I confined myself to this area because the sidewalk was clear and dry and safe. I didn't have to negotiate black ice, snow or frozen slush. When I was finished walking fast, I walked slow. I took some photographs.

I did it again today only for 20 quick minutes and 15 slow, creative ones.

I like the predictability as I ease back into cardio. My body is remembering what to do. The novelty happens as I am walking slowly. The scenery changes ever so subtly. The light is different every day. So is the snow. What is covered up one day is revealed the next.

The snow is melting more quickly than I thought it would. Soon, the other sidewalks and the curb cuts will be clear enough for me to go farther afield. At some point in the future my ankle will be fit to sustain a careful run. I'll cut a wide swath through Inwood and beyond. My period of relative confinement will be a memory.

I like to travel sometimes. But I don't need to. Having this injury proved it. When the block is all I have, it's good enough. Better than that, actually.

My slower than usual pace allowed me a moment to notice this scraped wall awaiting plaster - and the nearly bare branches in front of it.

This neatly folded leaf stands in contrast to the crystalline snow.

I'm finding beauty in the withered and ruined.

It wouldn't be post-blizzard if I didn't photograph one car covered in snow.

Nature provided me with pristine perfection to explore.

This tiny piece of foil became the latest addition to my Beautiful Trash Series. The snow melted at a prodigious rate of speed leaving this sooty patch in its wake.

You might also enjoy: