10,000 Steps (and Photos?)

Jane magnolias in glorious bloom on the FTCC campus (March 13)

Almost three months have passed since I last posted here–by far the longest dry spell since I started writing in 2016. Not accidentally, this hiatus coincides with my newly rediscovered passion for fitness. Last May, my family doctor told me that at 6.6%, my hemoglobin A1c level had crossed the threshold for diabetes–but that I could reverse the diagnosis through diet and exercise. She sent me to a nutritionist, whose dietary advice I have followed meticulously for over 9 months, and by November, my labs were mostly on the normal range. In January, the Apple Watch inspired me to start walking. I also joined the YMCA and signed up for an aerobics class at school (instructors can take one free class each semester). To date, I have lost 136 pounds, built some heretofore untried muscles, and begun slowly building a new wardrobe.

Yesterday’s 5.57-mile walk on the Neuse River Greenway and through old Smithfield (April 6)

In the early days of my exercise regimen, I decided to commit myself to 10,000 steps a day, a goal codified when I joined the 10K-a-Day challenge sponsored by the Fitness and Health Science Department. Of note, I have averaged 17,672 steps per day since I threw down that particular gauntlet. As serendipity would have it, I have also gained an unprecedented appreciation for the outdoors–something trained out of me as a child when being sent outside to play felt like punishment. Today was simply a near-perfect example of that new joy in nature. As I walked the Neuse River Greenway in Smithfield, a 5.6-mile round trip along the riverbank, through part of the town, and then through a long  swath of swampland, I heard the drumming of a woodpecker and the singing and chattering and chirping of birds unknown because of too much time spent indoors. I saw the variegated woodland colors, inhaled the intoxicating scent of wisteria carried by the cool spring breeze, and smiled at the tiny budlings bursting from every variety of tree along the path.

And of course, I took photographs. Ever since I found this passion, I have been looking closely and attempting to preserve what I saw. It is the results of my 10,000+ steps a day that I wish to share with you as I reïnvigorate these pages as well. Enjoy as I have enjoyed.

[Click on the photos to enlarge.]

“What is all this juice and all this joy? A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning in Eden garden” (from “Spring” by Gerard Manley Hopkins)

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