This afternoon, I came to visit my friend Gayle in South Bethlehem to do a Volkssport walk. Volkssporting is a type of organized walking that allows family and friends to walk together on a organized route written by people from that area that want to show others the highlights. You can earn miles & collect events for, for lack of a better work, status in the club.
The South Bethlehem walk is a scenic spin through Lehigh University’s Campus (where I noticed a family of deer!) followed by a tour of the Greenway and then the ArtsQuest/former Bethlehem Steel properties.
And as if this fun wasn’t enough— Gayle made me a great light summer meal.
And then Gayle and I attended the Act 197 training sponsored by Aspire to Autonomy.
The heat in eastern Pennsylvania feels almost like East Africa today— temperatures in the low 90s and humidity at 50%. The humidity in Djibouti would be a lot higher.
I spent much of the weekend cuddled up with Hulu between household chores. It’s the only reasonable way to be productive in this heat.
Yesterday, I took two short walks of about a mile plus each and I third that almost got to two miles.
In that process, I found myself noting subtle beauty in my own neighborhood—where I have lived for 17.5 years.
My friend, the one who launched the El Camino virtual pilgrimage, commented that she loves the idea of rediscovering our own worlds.
Somehow, I thought of things differently. Like this medical office that I have walked by just about daily— it looks like something from the Mediterranean coast. The pink color, the grapes on the iron work, the ornate grate on the side…
And then I cut through an old parking lot. It used to be a gated lot and the old equipment stands rusty and sad at the entrance.
And as I approached the final block, the trees and the flowers made the neighborhood look so vibrant. (The same block where I fell and smashed my chin. which led to a lot of dental problems.)
But yes, it’s so hot you drop as soon as you walk out the door. It’s hard to sleep without air conditioning.
Today, the teenager took Gayle and I to the lower end of her special creek. It’s the next journey as part of our virtual El Camino pilgrimage meant to foster spiritual growth and motivate our out-of-shape butts toward better fitness.
The teenager “slopped” in the creek (I think that’s the official Pennsylvania Dutch term for it) and mined for spiritual rocks.
The water was crystal clear even though the setting was marred with litter and debris. Birds sang gleefully as the highway noise competed for attention.
When we returned to my house, about 7,000 steps later, Gayle—the agnostic in our group— lamented that she’s never had a spiritual experience while walking, no breakthrough movements or epiphanies. I suggested that life didn’t work that way, at least not for me. My own personal truth comes in increments.
Then we turned the discussion to fitness and trying to stay motivated to be more active. We both said we’re bad at doing anything on our own.
And then we heard the ice cream truck. The teenager raced for the door as Gayle and I raced for our wallets.
That sure motivated us.
The Tony’s ice cream truck in pink and white has multiple things I need to try.
Somehow, the ice cream truck made me feel alive. Laughing with my daughter over the crazy flavors in the sour patch kid ice cream. Standing in the street, fully enjoying the urban summer experience.
Pilgrimages are for the humble, the weak, the seeking and the hurting.
Pilgrimages are often undertaken by the rich and/or the spiritually shallow, often to gain stature.
My morning started in my backyard with my mother, who has always been far more talented and motivated in terms of gardening. She did a little bit of my weeding— I believe that’s part of her “love language” to help me with my household chores.
After she left, I finished hanging the sheets on the clothesline and did some more weeding.
In those moments, I spent a lot of time reflecting. And I thought about the relationships I have been strengthening lately and the virtual pilgrimage via the El Camino that I have joined with friends on Facebook.
And I thought about how you have to have a strong sense of purpose and determination to take a pilgrimage — I know often religious commitment sparks such a journey but it often intersects with a need for healing, either spiritual or physical.
And the sense of facing challenge and achieving a difficult goal is part of the sense of success.
Then my neighbor (Sobaka’s Mom) said she was going for a walk at one of my favorite parks. I asked if she wanted company and she said sure. That she didn’t really want to go alone.
So, after such an action packed four days yesterday seemed no only boring but exhausting. This post will be on the rather ordinary side but I think it may set the tone for adventures to come.
The teenager and I have been pretty consistent with our attempts to join the spiritual walks and reflections championed by our friends celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary.
Tonight we took a 5,000 step walk in the gentle but steady summer rain, walking the neighbor’s dog.
The teenager and I discussed fitness goals as she needs to lose weight and I need to reclaim my previous fitness levels so I stop falling down. The two goals compliment each other well as we both need exercise, good food and hopefully some weight training. I love a good weight training session. If I had more discipline I would be a body builder.
I typically handle public relations and social media for the non-profit agency where I work and today one of my favorite grocery stores gave us a donation— Grocery Outlet! I love Grocery Outlet so much they have their own tag here on my blog. Check it out!!!
So I know I’m jumping all over the place but before I tell you about the donation I need to tell you what we had for supper because some of it coincidentally came from the Grocery Outlet.
Tonight’s meal featured:
Thin pork chops from the Grocery Outlet topped with my homemade sweet apple glaze
Canned peaches (cooked in the sauce with the pork)
Riced broccoli, cauliflower and carrots from the freezer section at Grocery Outlet
Sesame sticks (from the Carmelcorn Shop in downtown Easton)
This morning— I put on my pandemic finest and headed to The Grocery Outlet for the donation.
There I met owner Josh Bartholomew and met up with the rest of our team who were loading the truck.
It has been about 13 hours since I made the Facebook post and it’s been viewed more than 2500 times— it was fun to see that number climb all day.
Finally, in case you don’t care about food like I do; here is a cat photo of our Oz.