The church I’ve started attending since moving into my apartment is near enough that I can walk there if I want. Granted, I went to a residential campus college and rather enjoy the slower modes of transportation to start with, so my estimation of “close enough to walk” may vary from that of others, but this distance, I think, would generally be considered a decent walking distance.
So, I do walk to church, about 95 percent of the time. (Once it was raining, and another time I was leaving straight for the next town over after church, so I drove in those cases.) And nearly every day after church, I am asked, “do you need a ride?”
What kind folks! I thank them graciously but briefly explain that, really, I like to walk, and besides it’s a nice day out.
I’ve been rather obstinate on this one too, walking even in the chilly weather and after dark. The cold will eventually get to me—I’d rather be in Costa Rica—but the dark, that isn’t a problem.
In fact, it casts a whole different glow to the walk. Instead of the green trees, I am met by antique-looking street lights, which one by one greet me with a hazy shine as I pass. The stoplights shine much more overtly in the dark, of course, and the very sounds change.
If I cut through the city park on the way, I cross a creek whose gentle, puddling sounds catch the ear much more readily in the dark. They always remind me of stargazing excursions with my best college buddies. And in the gleam of the old street lights, the flowing bit of water looks very like a sparkling mesh of starlight, filmed and replayed rapidly.
The combination of sight and sound there compels me to stop, gaze and attend to the mysterious message it carries, every time I pass there on my way home from evening services. Then I look up from the faux starlight to the real, only partly obscured by street lighting but clarified by the chill wind that dusk brings. And I ask the wind how anyone can choose to drive to all destinations when sights and sounds such as abound in this town are to be had.
Yes folks, I own a car and use it regularly. But if I can, I make the time to walk. It saves me, perhaps, from succumbing to the ever-increasing pace of modern life. (Cliché I know, but it’s true.)