It had been another one of those weeks. I seemed to be having a lot of them in March. The weeks that get out of control. The ones where the to-do list seems woefully long. The bathroom desperately needs to be scrubbed. Work is a whirlwind. The weather is crappy. Oh, and let’s throw in a holiday with traditions and religious observances that are meaningful rather than merely obligatory.
That’s what Easter Sunday became for me. A chance to exhale. I spent the day around family. I ate too much white sugar. And when all was said and done for the day, I asked my dad if he wanted to for a walk.
It was a beautiful day — near 60 degrees, sunny and hardly a breeze to speak of. It was 6 p.m. All the guests had left and most of the cleanup was complete. There wasn’t time or energy for anything ambitious, but I wanted to get out. Actually I needed to get out to keep my streak of one day a week in nature alive. So I suggested to my dad we go for a walk on the recently opened Erie Canal Path in South Lockport.
My dad had already explored the trail — a wide, paved pathway that connects Lockport to Amherst and is part of the goal of having a continuous pathway along the Erie Canal just as the song tells us, from Albany to Buffalo. We drove to the new parking area and started our walk. It was a pleasant, easy walk. The portion we walked had the canal (somewhere on our right) and a smattering of trees and grasses as the path followed along a roadway on our left. We saw a few former businesses which someone with more savvy and money and vision than ourselves could turn into destination spots along the canal path. The right business could turn a profit with the easy-on-easy-off access to the trail. Because even on this Easter Sunday evening, the trail was filled with people.
There were cyclists both solo and in pairs. There were families with young children, adults out for a chat while walking their dogs and couples out for a date night.
The naturalist in me sighed a bit at the asphalt. But there was a bigger picture here. The paved pathway got people outside. And that’s half the battle. In fact, it might be all of the battle. Whatever it is you’re dreaming of doing, whatever you’re quietly longing to do — walk for 10 minutes a day, train for a marathon, learn to ride a bike, breath more fresh air — it is all about starting. Starting isn’t a one-time deal. We tend to like linear thinking — we start, we progress, we finish. We go from Point A to Point B. But the reality is we are continuously starting. Each day is a new start, whether it’s your first time on the canal path or you’re running your fifth 100-miler. And each day we are given the opportunity to choose how we approach and use that fresh start.
Date: March 27, 2016
Location: Erie Canal Path, South Lockport
Total distance: 1.70 miles
Duration: 54 minutes
Weather: sunny, 60 degrees
Hiked with: Dad