I took a walk this morning around the neighborhood. Second day in a row. This is an insignificant accomplishment by any objective measure, but it’s a milestone for me. (Recall, if you will, my recounting of Scott Adams’ discussion of the technique whereby one wiggles their pinky finger as the first step to overcoming a kind of motivational paralysis.)

I used to walk five miles a day, as recently as 2017. I did it for health, and to lower stress, and to have time to listen to audiobooks, since after reading and writing all day, sitting down with an actual book is usually the last thing I want to do. So I’d head out, usually after dark (it’s sunny here all the time, and my Irish/Slovak complexion is better suited for the indoors than the Arizona sun) and make my rounds.

But I moved, and without the neighborhood I used to find so conducive for walking, I immediately dropped the habit. It didn’t take long for my motivation to wane entirely, even as I started adding more weight to my already gravitationally-enhanced frame. My current neighborhood presents its own obstacles to resuming the activity: it has no streetlights, which is fantastic for looking at the stars at night, but less conducive for walking. It also has no sidewalks. And, because it opens up to miles of beautiful, natural desert to the south, it has lots of wild animals. There are bobcats — I found one giving me the staredown one early morning as I loaded the back end of my car in preparation for a trip — and javelinas, too. (Wild, ornery, betusked pig-analogs.) And then there are the ever-present coyotes. One early morning, when I couldn’t go back to sleep, I headed out at about 5AM, and ran into a pack of them crossing an intersection. Luckily for me, they scampered off. They don’t always. I haven’t run into any diamondbacks, fortunately, though I know they’re here. I’d prefer not to repeat my copperhead experience with a much larger, more dangerous cousin. Every time I’ve gone walking in the dark, though, I wonder what might jump out at me.

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