One of the side benefits of getting in shape has been getting to really know my neighborhood. Since I started walking a little over a year ago and running last spring, I have logged hundreds of miles on the streets of my town home community. I don’t think I’ve spent this much time outside since I was a kid roaming our neighborhood in suburban Philadelphia. I love it. I’ve gotten to know a few people I would never have met otherwise and I can greet several of our neighbor dogs by name. I’ve scuffed my feet through fallen leaves, slid them over ice and snow, splashed through the rain and flip-flopped in the heat and humidity.
I’ve enjoyed seeing the different ways people decorate from season to season, the changing flowers and garden flags that mark our march through the year. This time of year it’s all pumpkins and mums. Soon the Christmas decorations will come out with everything from the sublime (single lighted candlesticks in the upstairs windows) to the ridiculous (a blow-up Snoopy Santa that takes up an entire tiny front lawn). During basketball season, the flags display our various allegiances and rivalries–this IS North Carolina after all. Spring brings new plants, beautiful flowering trees and lots of Easter decorations. I loved the week in May when my daily run was edged in what looked like pink snow–the fallen petals of the cherry trees. In the summer outdoor furniture appears on our decks and patios and it’s a challenge to walk through the streets and still stick to my eating plan when so many things smell so delicious because the neighborhood grills are all fired up.
It’s hard to pick a favorite season, but I think I like fall best. The cooler temperatures, the gold, red and orange leaves, the woodsmoke, and the blue, blue sky are hard to beat. I was sad to see daylight savings time go because I know it means less time out walking in the neighborhood, at least during the week, but I enjoy the short walks at twilight and coming home to the warm and welcome lights of home. After a hard day of work I need the exercise, the time to unwind, think, process and enjoy a bit of air. It’s part of the good life. I’m content.