Friday, April 17, 2009

The Road to Recovery

The square of the hypotenuse is equal to the squares of the two supporting sides.

Remember that from geometry class? (It’s about the only thing I can remember!)

It’s an intuitive lesson for those of us who look for the quickest way across a field or parking lot.

And it’s one I think of every day on my walk to the bus!
Since driving has been forbidden since my surgery, I’ve been enjoying a combination of rides from kind friends (generally on appointment days or bad weather!) and taking the bus.

Taking the bus involves about a mile-long walk to the first stop, then after getting off, another mile (if I take the “walk” way) or a short walk to a transfer point that delivers me to the door.

(Although today I found a quicker route that is bus all the way – which has its good and bad points.)

Since the weather has been nice, walking has been both good exercise, just as efficient time-wise (both routes are the same – about an hour – compared to the 10-minute car ride!), and I consider it boot camp for Paris!

There are things I note on these walks – not the least of which is the number of steps, which I count faithfully. (Let’s just say there are thousands. Literally.)

One is that once I’m out of the subdivision – about three blocks – I’m in the asphalt jungle and in more ways than one. Crossing involves the four lanes of two busy streets and crossing over the expressway on a narrow sidewalk. (Probably not so narrow – it just feels it was crazy drivers beside and below you!).

(I’m not even going to show you pix of this part of the trip – too boring!)

It means going through a parking lot of a once vibrant shopping center called Frandor, where my mother shopped when I was a child. Now it’s more desolate, and with recent closings of the Linens ‘n’ Things and Comp USA stores, along with a bookstore, shoe store and toy store, it’s a little sad.

(Having said that, the JoAnn’s and World Market doors automatically open when I come by, as though they expect I’ll take my normal route and step in!)

The Panera is good for a quick stop if I just miss the bus and have to wait 10 minutes (like today!)

When I decide to take the “walk-way” (which I tend to do most often), the bus drops me at the Student Union, where there is another 3,000 step walk to my building. It is this walk I look forward to. I enjoy passing by the older dormitories and classroom buildings.

For as much asphalt and cement as I experience on the first half of the walk, this part is beautiful, cutting through the oldest part of MSU’s campus and along its river bank.

During the spring, the campus is at its most beautiful. Right now it is just waking up.

I enjoy seeing the trees change with every day, as forsythia begin to blossom and the fat buds of magnolias are barely contained.

Birds and squirrels dart about in mad chases and Beaumont Tower often chimes as I pass by. I am simply wild about the architecture.

Students pass, plugged into iPods or on the phone, barely acknowledging another walker. (This is much different from my school days on this campus where one nodded, smiled or said hello to just about anyone.)

On my quest for the perfect hypotenuse, I have tramped through damp grass, bits of mud, across parking lots and through buildings. Every day I notice something new. Including graffiti with the university pres!

As I pass through the library, I realize that much of the reference department has gone do-it-yourself, with computers everywhere. They didn’t do that in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Then it’s a walk along the river. I know that soon, the ducks will be all over the place, begging for treats.

Students will also be all over the place – in tank tops or less, sunning themselves between classes on the banks of the Red Cedar.

Soon I’ll post an update with the campus’ beautiful flowering trees. Stay tuned – it’s a colorful shocker of apple and cherry blossoms, red buds, magnolias and more!

Driving privileges should be restored next week and in light of time, I will probably drive more. But I’ve really been enjoying my walks and you can count on them continuing – with or without the bus!


Anonymous said...

I'd ride the bus every day if I could do what you are doing. It sounds like a great way to start and end a day.

anno said...

It does sound like a peaceful way to be connected with your community. MSU's campus is so beautiful (and with sidewalks connecting nearly every possible hypotenuse, a walker's dream), your daily walks sound like a great way to indulge spring fever.

The Creek Cats said...

You sure have lovely views on your walk.

Yum, Panera.... one just opened here last year. I will be having breakfast there in the morning.

Enjoy your walking!

Joanne Huffman said...

How delightful to join you on your walk And, you'll be in great shape for tramping around Paris.


Anonymous said...

What fun it was, joining you on your morning walk, Jeanie. A daily walk is like an old friend, isn't it? I hope you can continue to make time for your friend, even when your driving privileges are restored.
I walk the dog every morning, and I enjoy listening to what birds are back in the spring, and seeing the plants change with the season.
I hope your shoulder continues to heal!

Mary Timme said...

I've been walking inside this week when I could find time to walk. The weather is typical spring here with wet heavy snow and rain. Love the possibility of a fun jigsaw puzzle as well as drawing with some of your architecture pictures and the river! Fun.

Annie said...

Is it just me, or was there something very bittersweet about this post?

BONNIE K said...

I enjoyed taking this walk with you. I wish I could get motivated to walk. I'm working on it.

Rosa said...

I love all your shots, especially the bus ones. Don't even ask me why.

anno said...

First, you talk about getting your passport. And now, you mention boot camp for Paris... are these the only clues you are going to drop?

paris parfait said...

Such a lovely area - thanks for these glimpses of your walk. And yes, boot camp for Paris! Can't wait to see you here. xo

Oh said...

wow, not only that you've gone "commuter" which is excellent but your campus!!!! Gorgeous. What wonderful place to have to go to work every day, and your alma mater, too.
You made me laugh referring to the doors of World Market and the other store opening automatically when you walk by!
Here's to the lush spring pictures you will share and to your mending so that you can hop in the car OR walk and will have choices again.

Also, I'm playing at 'scrapping' today and using one of papers you sent - it's perfect with several of the themes I'm working on (can't seem to settle down and have stuff all over the place doing differnt pages at a time.)

beth said...

wow...I'm tired {I think} going on this whole route with I have never been a bus person...but you know what? I think I want to try it someday just for fun !!!

jet1960 said...

How like you, Jeanie, to turn a long walk instead of your normal drive, into something positive and beautiful. I love that about you!

Becca said...

I rather envy you this daily walk, and I'm so glad you shared it with us. Of course, I wouldn't enjoy it during some of that winter weather we had, but right now is the perfect time to be out "taking the air."

I've never spent much time on the State campus (being from that other Michigan school - sorry!) It's quite beautiful, really.

It might be tempting to keep up the walk on occasion, even after you're back behind the wheel!

Beth said...

I think I would have to ride the bus off and on just to have that walk too. Its so pretty! But I know you will be glad to get your wheels back too. We have alot of shopping centers here that look barren because of store closures. So sad!

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