Tuesday, December 4, 2012

300 Miles and Walking

When I retired in early June, my first goal was to get healthy again.
For the first two days I slept.
The ever-increasing demands of teaching and the crushing workload had taken a heavy toll,
and my body was shot.
But on the third day, I made myself get out the door and put one foot in front of the other,
again, and
again, and
Last Day, June 6, 2012

The previous summer, in Newfoundland and Labrador,
I had been shocked at the cost teaching had extracted from my body.
And it was a major reason for my deciding to retire earlier than I had planned.
(Nieces and nephews save your money from Day 1 of working,
so you, too, can retire unexpectedly early, if need be!).
Not that I couldn't and didn't want to teach - it was my passion.
And that's what worried Terry and my family and Terry's family and my friends.
I could not go less than full tilt because of my passion and my love for the kids.
So I finally listened and retired.
Nautical Signal Flags
Lobster Cove Head, Newfoundland

It was a leap of faith into the unknown, and it was scary; 
I loved my teaching life, and I loved my paycheck!
I had always prided myself on standing on my own two feet,
and now I was going to rest on my laurels.

I felt I was Standing Into Danger!

I, of course, on that first day, walked down into the Piney Creek drainage on my favorite jaunt.
But I was shocked at what awaited.

Three nights before, on the day I retired,
I had finally walked out of Sunrise at 7:45 p.m.,
after more than 12 hours of working.
It was wild outside:
wind, pitting rain, tornado sirens,
and massed, bruised skies toward the south.
Terry, on the phone, had just told me he didn't think we should meet at Parkway B&G
for a celebratory dinner and drinks!

The weather was suddenly so bad, as I was driving toward the highway,
that I chickened out of getting on E-470
and drove home on Gun Club and Aurora Parkway.
When I crossed over Smoky Hill Road, the hail started,
then pounded.
It lasted for 90 minutes.
The line of roof devastation stopped about six houses south of us.
I got Terry's point about dinner and drinks on that long, last mile home.
And I couldn't help but feel the universe was recognizing
that I was Standing Into Danger!

So when I hit the park on that first day of walking
I saw devastation everywhere.
I missed it by not getting out on the morning immediately after the storm!
The geologist in me had been observing water levels and storm effects for years,
as well as the flora and fauna.
Why hadn't I run down during the storm?!
It would have been something to see!
Three Days After the Storm

I've been walking every day since.
Yesterday was day 178, and I hit 302.5 miles.
At 318 miles I'll reach Ellis, Kansas, near Hays.

You'd think after 178 days of walking that day 179 would be easy.
It's never easy!
I've just got to keep putting one foot in front of another!

Good music helps!
Here is one of my favorite walking songs,
and one of my favorite music videos.
(Sure wish I hadn't accidentally wiped out my original recording on my VCR!)

Carlos Santana feat Mana - Corazon Espinado

Latin Grammy Awards, September 13, 2000


  1. I had wondered about the name of your blog, and now I understand. Congratulations on your retirement, and your walking. 300 miles since June is quite the feat (feet, lol).

  2. Thanks Terry!
    I decided on the goal of "walking" to St. Anthony in Newfoundland which is somewhere around 3,300 miles. That's why I said that I was coming up on Ellis, Kansas.

    Oprah wrote in the September 2012 issue of O Magazine about retirement: "I never want to retire from life. From growth. Or from the renewing of my mind." That's become my mantra.

    I'm going to keep moving forward and experiencing all the world has to offer, even when I feel I'm standing into danger!
    Have a good evening!

  3. I too have wondered about the title you chose for your blog!
    I think you made wise decisions!
    Keep well and fit! ;-)

  4. Thanks Noushka! I'm headed out the door to walk right now! Have a good one!

  5. First....I wanted to finish the video/music before I commented....that is great music...no wonder you want to get out and walk to Timbuktu.

    Second...listening to your loved ones is always paramount....they witness you, they see things that you either ignore or deny. They make suggestions, they open your eyes and help with decisions and above all love you AND you listened....checkmark!

    Thirdly...the storm was an ending and beginning...your new life>>the new trail to something new and something old again. It was all meant to be, so now you are making the best of it.

    Is this too deep or not deep enough......I tend to find the humourous side of most things. DNA thing I got from my father(my mother always said-you are so much like your father)....we are all on this road together and with good health we can plod forward.


    PS....I've been going through my old school yearbooks and questions are starting to mount up. Maybe not so much questions as queries. I thought you were in my class but it seems you were in the class below me. I can only find one picture of you in the yearbooks. How long were you at WHS?

    Also, Renee Van T...no pictures at all...now that's truly strange. I thought you both were in my class and graduated with me. I know I was in a car accident 10 years but that couldn't have scrambled my brain that much, could it?

    I am unearthing many pictures from my past and what happens is that I get trapped reliving and "oh yeah I remember him/her". This is going to take some time...well at least it'll keep me out of Jim's hair...hey he doesn't have any!


  6. Louise, I believe you will be thankful for your decision to retire when you did, in time. This is still all new to you and you are 'finding your feet' so to speak. You are smart to start walking daily....it took Sophie to get us moving again 6 years ago and we haven't looked back.
    Your passion for teaching will slowly move onto and into 'other things'...as I am sure you are aware.
    Now, THAT was a storm to witness first hand! Was that DRAMATIC or was that DRAMATIC! What a sendoff to a great career spent in teaching!!! One you'll never forget, I bet.

    1. Hi Jim!
      I okay with it now, but deciding to retire was very hard. I was secretary of our union and involved at things at the state and national level. Plus my youngest sister Bertie and I had been presenting at a children's literacy conference for several years. It was so hard to let it all go!

      I've wanted to write for many years, and this blog is priming the pump so to speak. Bertie has published two books, and she keeps cracking the whip at me. I helped her, so she's returning the favor.

      As for that storm - it was something else. A friend of mine who lives almost due south of me had $50,000 worth of damage, and her neighbor had $250,000 in storm damage. I have another friend whose house was shredded by hail, and it's almost finished being repaired. I'm not sure what her damage cost, but hail punched through all her skylights, ruined her roof, fences, paint, and windows.

      Terry wouldn't go to Parkway to celebrate because he was worried the hail would damage our car. But we went the following night.

      I've seen a lot of storms come and go that did very little to the park and creek, but this storm tore out gobs of vegetation and rocks, gouged up the stream bottom, and left behind sandbanks and new channels. All sorts of debris was hung up on the trees and vegetation. The water must have been 4-5+ feet high over the footbridges in the park, and the water through the big culvert under Aurora Parkway was well over my head. The creek, which is just a few feet wide, spread out though the bottom area in places 200 - 250 feet wide. I'm guesstimating because I didn't actually measure. I know further upstream Inspiration Drive was flooded by at water at least 4 feet deep. Fire engines couldn't get through to put out fires started by lightning strikes. Yes, my retirement was a momentous event!

      Sorry if I've gone over the top about the storm, but I find this stuff fascinating!

      Thanks for your patience! Have a good one!

    2. No apologies needed here! I love your passion!

  7. Hi Ron!
    You're so right about listening to loved ones! I finally started to cave when my sister-in-law Noreen sat me down and said that I needed to retire. It had been a loud chorus from the siblings, and most of all Terry, who thought that I would keel over!

    That storm certainly seemed symbolic to me! It's strange how the universe works.

    I was in grade eight in Wolfville during the 1963-1964 school year. We were both in Mrs. Eaton's class, although I think Mrs. Dorman also taught us something. I have both the June 1964 and June 1965 Glooscaps, so I must have gotten the 1965 from Lella. Our class picture is on page 24. You're second from the right in the back between Jimmy Fry and David Loomer (I hope I'm remembering right. Renee is between Mary Kenny and Cathy MacKenzie. Then I'm between Cathy and Alexis - can't think of her last nsme but I think she was from Pocatello, Idaho. It's so fun to go back and look at the photos of everyone: Ken, Peter, Pete, Lella, Jane, John ++++++!

    Oh yeah! Renee is in Mrs. Morton's class with you in Grade 9. She's in the front row, third from the left by Lella.

    I'm having fun going through the unearthing too, especially as I'm reconstructing my life in the north. I went on to two years in Sherbrooke, and one year in Freeport, before going on to Acadia. I have a vague memory of coming back to the high school with Lella for something.

    I hope this clears up some of your questions.

    Renee came back to Wolfville in the summer of 1968 for a visit. I had a party at the apartment where I was living while I worked in the library that summer. It was the lower level of a house on the corner of Highland and Gaspereau owned by some professor. There were a whole bunch of the old gang there, but I am embarressed to say I can't remember if you were there. I was so excited to see Renee. Now I have questions!

  8. I am missing the June 64 Glooscap...more searching I see. I have the 1967 edition, my graduating year, without you or Renee in it. I guess that's why I'm confused. You did graduate from WHS?

    Alexis MacLean was her name from Pocatello....

    Highland and Gaspereau Aves are horizontal to each other...I'm sorry to say I missed that party. I was working at the Acadia pool as an instructor so was in that neck of the woods all the time. It seems that as soon as I left High School my world changed and I had no connection with people such as yourself. I could kick myself, but hey I wouldn't be typing now if I had.

    Lella returned to Wolfville in 1993 and hooked up with my cousin Donnie Regan, Anita Regan's brother. They lived on Chestnut Ave in Bonnie Manning's old house for a few years. They are now living apart(long entangled story there). Lella had a daughter Nuna(sp?)

    We'll get this all figured some day....

    Live for the moment


  9. Oops! The corner of Prospect and Gaspereau. The house is still there! I just saw it in street view on Google maps. It's almost scary how much you can see on Google. I also looked at our old house across from the graveyard on Gaspereau. It really looks different. I haven't seen Lella in almost 20 years - last time was in 1998. I think her daughter was in the Amazon at the time or maybe had just gotten back. Too bad about her and Donnie.

    1. My family home was just up the street from you literally 2 houses. The new owners added a section on the left side and the right side. We were No.5 for years, I mean years, then No.7 and now I think it's No. 9...such strange things go on with building new homes.

  10. I graduated from Island's Consolidated in 1967 from Grade 11 - down on the islands off Digby Neck.

    1. Ahhh...now I know I was not going crazy....I kept scouring the yearbook 1967 thinking she HAS to be in here....why can't I find her? same with Renee? This is an alternate universe kept slipping in and out of my thoughts. Louise doesn't really exist, this is a figment of my High School imagination. I feel better now. I'm going to find that yearbook 1964...I must have it.


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate them very much.