Walking As Never Before

Photo by Mahlon Barasch

Most of my life I have thought of walking as a good way to get from one place to another.  It is also good exercise. In fact, I used to walk around a track with the runners just for the exercise. My concentration was  on moving my body. My mind was blank, only thinking about moving as fast as I could. The objective was exercise. Get the heart rate going. Or get to my favorite coffee house to be with my friends. 

With the Pandemic,  I have amplified my view of walking. It still is exercise and a good way to get from A to B. But it is a lot more. I live in Barranco, a district of Lima, Peru. My favorite walk is along the Malecon. This is a street that runs along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean, situated some 500 feet above the beach on a bluff. 

For a time, because of the Pandemic,  I was locked down by order of the government. I could not go out. That was torture for me. Then I would stand on the balcony, breathing the fresh air, watching the birds in the trees and the few people walking by.  I was the caged bird; the fish in an aquarium. 

 Finally, the order was lifted and  I could go out. Of course, I am careful, using masks and staying away from other walkers.

I realize how precious is the time I have for my walk. It is so much more than what I thought: It is freedom; It is breathing fresh ocean air; It is life.

 Fog hangs in the air.The brown land, desert really, contrasts with the sea.  I look at everything  as though this may be my last time to see it.. 

 I stop frequently. I look at the flowers, delighting even in the tiniest blossoms I can see. I look out at the ocean and the surfers riding the waves, cheering them on.  I see the half moon of the bay stretching from Chorrillos to Callao. I see the islands off the coast, even the little rocks sticking out. I see the fishing boats and the sails. I am blessed with the beauty and variety of the scenery. 

I delight in the beautiful sunsets and hope each day that clouds will populate the horizon. Each evening  a few of us witness the ceremony of the sun. We watch silently as it disappears. 

The local government has restricted traffic on the Malecon making it one way. Few cars actually use it.  Cyclists and walkers move freely unhindered by automobiles. We now have a bicycle path staked out. I hope it is permanent.  

It is quieter. I see more children and dogs. Lots of families on the weekends. People are mostly quiet as they too appreciate the beauty that we so long took for granted. 

These are walks as never before. .

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