I first heard of house walking
in the late winter of 1974-75
in Westport, on White Bay, Newfoundland.
A Warm Winter Day, Early 1975
Westport from Pound Hill
Long Range Mountains on the Great Northern Peninsula (in the distance)
Sops Island (in White Bay)
The winters were colder then.
White Bay was frozen solid between Westport and Sop's Arm,
a distance of about seven miles.
Some Westporters drove their vehicles to the other side and back,
over the rugged surface of the ice
and around the pressure ridges of frozen seawater.
Some days it dipped to 30 below Fahrenheit,
and thin sheets of ice caked the walls in the unheated rooms
of our neighbors' homes.
People slept burrowed under piles of blankets with hot rocks in their beds.
It was not a time for walking outdoors.
Wiseman's Cove (Adjacent to Westport)
From Pound Hill
One of our neighbors had a heart attack,
and his doctor ordered him to walk an hour a day,
no matter the temperature or the weather,
So he became a house walker,
from the kitchen to the living room,
to the kitchen to the living room,
around and around,
an hour a day;
and he lived.
MacBeath and I
Walking on a Warm Winter Day,
Westport on White Bay
So on the days when the weather is a blizzard,
or I'm under the weather and can't leave the house,
I, too, become a house walker,
around and around.
But, I'm walking,
and I'm going to make it
to St. Anthony, Newfoundland!
I just passed 350 miles.
So what if I only walked 3.25 miles in the past 10 days?
If I have to house walk to get St. Anthony,
then that's what I'll do.
Music helps when you're house walking.
Junior Wells, In the Wee Hours,
is as comforting as hot ginger tea to soothe your throat
and a microwaved teddy bear to warm your chest.