Saturday, December 1, 2007

Balk (Sunday Scribblings prompt: "walk")



According to what my parents used to tell their friends, my first word was "balk", the nearest I could come to pronouncing "walk." It's said that a child of less than three years does not form memories. Yet I feel sure that I remember back to those first toddler days when I would demand, "balk!" I meant that Daddy should stop the model T to let me stagger through ferns higher than my head, among the tall trunks and fragrant scents of the redwoods, with shafts of sunlight dancing on lower leaves of madrone and (sigh) poison oak. Many weekends we would drive over the summit of the Coast Range to Santa Cruz, the two-lane crooked road winding among just such tempting "balks." The floor of the forest might be studded with little gems of flowers such as trillium or calypso orchids, which my parents wisely, in those pre-ecology days, prevented me from picking.

I have never lost my taste for walking. I would like to make a distinction, though, between "walking" and "hiking". The latter implies destination goals and, frequently, strenuous exercise. "Walking" is a more leisurely pursuit, with time to savor each aspect of the landscape through which one is traveling - to stop to spot that warbling bird or to watch a chipmunk burying a morsel.

Even in the city, where I am more apt to walk these days, I want time to appreciate - and possibly photograph - beautiful gardens. Walking gives one a chance to become acquainted with one's neighbors, those who might be out gardening or washing a car. And at night one can catch glimpses of cosy interiors through lighted windows. At this time of year, decorated Christmas trees are a special treat.

Hike for exercise, I say, but walk for simple pleasures.

10 comments:

Liza's Eyeview said...

I enjoyed this post Granny Smith! I too like walking :)

By the way, your link on Mr. Linky is not working. First you have to copy your URL (the bog address) and then "paste" it on the linky. If you need further help, e-mail me at lizamaui@yahoo.com

Linda said...

You've got that right! Nothing beats a walk! I really enjoyed reading this with all the descriptions!

paisley said...

i could not agree with you more,, the pure pleasure is not in the movement,, but in the vision... excellent piece.....

Granny Smith said...

Sorry about my troubles with Mr. Linky. I've gotten it straightened out now, thanks to much help. Thank you!

tumblewords said...

Very nice post! I like the distinction between walk - hike and chuckled at your early use of 'balk'

Rob Kistner said...

What a warm and genuine post... thank you for sharing it!

La Page Fran├žaise said...

"Hike for exercise, but walk for simple pleasures", I just love that. It's so true. I agree that a distinction should be made between hiking and walking. Both are good in their own different ways. But I too prefer a good "balk". Very nice post.

daria said...

I love your posts, Gigi!
I also have distinct memories of life before 3. Very fond ones of being at your home! So I don't know who those experts are, but they must be mistaken!
There is nothing better than a lovely walk in the Berkeley hills. I have such fond memories of the smells and sights while walking from your place down to the park with the long cement slide.
I'm working on a possible quick trip to visit you at the end of January. I'll keep you posted.
xoxo

nonizamboni said...

I so agree that there's 'walking' and then there's 'hiking.' and walking old and new neighborhoods. What lovely images from your past!
[Julia Cameron speaks of setting our feet down in different areas in her book 'The Artist's Way' that inspired me to venture out of my car and then journal my finds.]
happy days, Phyllis!

Marianne said...

I have lots of memories from before 3 years of age... I guard them well!
Love your early balks :^)