The magic in the movement

Crystal Murray

I remember being in a grocery store in Florida a few years ago and flipping through the wire rack of paperbacks near the check out. Amidst the cheesy romance beach reads, a title jumped out at me – Couples that Walk Together Stay Together. I didn’t buy the book. I picked up one of the cheesy romance novels, but the words about walking together and staying together have always been bookmarked in my memory.
Last spring, in the early days of the pandemic when my husband and I got tired of looking at each other across the top of our computers, we would bundle up and walk. It didn’t matter the weather. We just walked. Sometimes in silence, sometimes in debate, but always in rhythm with our footsteps. Our walks have become one of the most reassuring aspects of our relationship.
Rhythm as it turns out, has a lot to do with feelings of security and love. For me it’s the time, even when we are in disagreement, when we have our best talks, make the best plans, and come up with the best solutions. Walking is part of our love language.
Nine years ago, I called a neighbour and asked her to go for a walk. We lived across the road from each other, two of our children were similar age and we volunteered at the same non-profit. We were acquaintances but not friends. Since that first walk, we have logged thousands of kilometres together. From our downtown loop, and hikes on local trails, to treks in the Amazon rain forest and the plains of the African Maasai Mara. Some of the most adventurous moments in my life have happened because we fell into step as friends.
Walking solo, I sometimes become a time traveller. My mind wandering the perimeters of the present, then drifting to what was and what could be. It’s often during these moments, putting one foot in front of the other, that I write stories in my head, hoping that the ideas will hold until I can return to my keyboard.
I’ve learned that there is more than magic in the way our thoughts become clear and mood gets a lift. The benefits of walking go beyond the basics of fitness. New research suggests that when we engage in activities where our feet hit the ground the force creates a wave through our bodies that is apparently strong enough to send blood back up through our arteries to our brains. That extra blood flow does a lot of good work in your noggin. The next time you go for a walk to clear your head you will know why it works.
Freelancer writer Trish Joudrey knows all about the benefits of a good walk. Last year she had plans to create a wellness program for schools based on her experience on the famed Camino Trail when the pandemic knocked her of her path. Dusting off her disappointment she set her sights on a new destination. Starting from her back door, she created her own epic walk without setting a foot on an airplane. Trish shares segments of her personal journey and adventures close to home in North Shore Camino on page 30. Keep an eye out for details on how to register for your own At Home on the North Shore Camino journey where you can set your personal trekking goals and share your experiences. You might even want to take a page out of Melanie Mosher’s book and start your own gratitude journal as she describes in “Counting Flowers, Counting Blessings”.
Quilt designer Myla Borden takes a walk of a different kind in our “Off the Wall” series. Stitch by stitch and block by block she creates one-of-a kind quilts that speak to the journey of her ancestors, and reminds us that we are all walking through time. How we get there is what defines us.
We are excited to share another issue of At Home on the North Shore and we hope that it moves you in many ways.

See you on the trails