Our walks began over 50 years ago on a dusty country road, aptly names Pleasant Valley Road. Two sisters, walking hand in hand, singing old songs our grandmother must have taught us. “Rain, rain, go away, Come on back another day” while holding umbrella-shaped leaves of the Mayapple over our heads. We went everywhere together, often on that dirt road. One vivid memory is of us splashing through warm puddles of summer rain, preferably in the late evening in June when fireflies came out. The town must have oiled the road to keep the dust down, but that didn’t stop us. Barefoot with a glass jar in hand, we captured those poor bugs to marvel at their light. Our feet must have been filthy!
Later, I dutifully followed Anne down the road to visit the neighbor’s pony. Not just once. Every. Single. Day. I never thought to say no, except on the day I balked at passing the field with the bull in it. I wore a pink shirt and was certain the bull would charge me! I think I turned back and went home, leaving Anne to face the bull alone. (Sorry!)
And here we are fifty years and hundreds of miles later, still walking together whenever the opportunity presents itself for two sisters living five hours apart. We’ve managed to hike in the Adirondack Mountains, (“As long as it’s not a mountain,” she says, “I don’t like climbing mountains!”) the Bruce Peninsula (incredible views), on the Finger Lakes Trail (safe, meandering trails through farmers’ pastures and hedgerows) and even in Newfoundland, Canada (sweeping, wind-swept headlands).
Why walking? There’s something about walking that’s good for the soul, my soul, anyway, especially if it’s on a trail. I know of no other image that beckons to me like a picture of a trail (“A flat trail, Jeanne” she says, “Not too steep.”).