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Winter walks

03/06/04 12:00AM By Linda DuCharme
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(Host) After the bone-chilling cold of recent weeks, commentator Linda DuCharme is going to be especially happy to see the return of spring this year.

(DuCharme) I have explored many forms of exercise with the purpose of keeping this body going as long as time permits. And I have come full circle from that moment before memory when I took my first steps. I now spend time each day going for a walk.

In my prime I hit the road every morning and strode along a daily distance of four or so miles. It was exhilarating and energizing, and I loved it.

I am a faithful walker who has withstood swarms of black flies, torrential downpours, a fox that snapped and scared the life out of me, and the occasional blowing snow.

A few years ago I took time off to get a matched set of new knees but was back on the road within a few months.

I love to walk.

Walking in Vermont is a special joy because of the dramatic changes you can see on an almost daily basis.

The brooks babble, the frogs peep and then croak, the leaves turn and return.

I'm dumbfounded by people who walk wearing headphones. First of all it's dangerous: you might not hear a car coming. Secondly, why shut out the most beautiful sounds on earth? There are whole symphonies going on all the time. What could be better than that?

Although I have no favorite time of year for walking, there is a definite least-favorite time. And that time would be now.

A few weeks ago I decided to forestall the onset of cabin fever by gulping the clean fresh air while walking. Not a good idea at 6 degrees. I should have listened to my lungs frosting over and pleading with me to go home as quickly as possible.

Add walking pneumonia to my adventures.

It was a short bout and now I am again taking my daily walks but with more carefully chosen winter gear. After donning my knee-length down jacket, boots, knee socks, mittens (warmer than any gloves), and a hat that ties under my chin and makes me look like a dork, I wrap a scarf around my head that goes over everything including my face.

I remember bundling my own children up thus. I would carry these slippery shiny bundles out to the back yard and order them to play.

My walks have a serious mission. I check the progress of the new house going up just down the road. I eye the recycling containers to see if there is room for a deposit. I watch for deer tracks, and examine those prints I can't identify. I wave to anybody in a pickup truck because it might be someone I know from the building trade and I want to stay in their good graces. I listen for the sound of a spring bird that might herald the end of you-know-what.

I do love to walk, but I will love it so much more a few weeks from now.

This is Linda DuCharme in Brookline.


Linda DuCharme is a retired assistant mangaing editor of the Brattleboro Reformer. She came to us today from our studio in Norwich.
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