Walk This Way
By Kathy Wright
I rarely go for a walk that I don’t chuckle to myself, remembering three particular words from that crazy, comedy spoof, “Young Frankenstein.”
In an eerie, nighttime scene, Gene Wilder (the actor who plays Frankenstein’s character) is met at the Transylvania train station by his servant (played by Marty Feldman). The servant picks up his master’s bags, turns to him and says: “Walk this way.”
You and I realize the servant’s words refer to a direction, but Wilder’s, wild character proceeds to follow the instruction literally, imitating the unfortunate fellow’s bent-over form as well as his inherent limp.
Many times since seeing the movie, my husband has quickly taken my arm, pulled me close and said, “Walk this way.” We mimic the scene, look at each other and smile.
For me, walking is a pleasant distraction that benefits my whole being. Not only does my physical body profit, but I find it’s a great time to allow for moments of unrestrained mental meandering—to reconnect with the world around me—to focus on whatever flies by, sounds off, or pops up.
Living near Lake Oconee, where many areas of the community are bordered by woods or water or both, walking is an adventure. I never know what I might see—deer, squirrels, turkeys, hawks, armadillos, foxes, and, of course, other two-legged wanderers such as myself.
I sometimes think it would be enjoyable to listen to music or books-on-tape while I walk, but if I had an earpiece stuck in my ear, I’d miss the swooshing of the wind, the crunch of leaves beneath my feet, and winter’s dry rattle of the tall oaks, shaking their brown-leaf tambourines. I delight in the chatter of squirrels, the caw of crows, and the notorious drumming of woodpeckers, individually tapping out their presence against the trunk of a tree.
Take my stroll this morning, for example. Had my brain been processing the tune and lyrics of a song or attempting to unravel some novel’s mysterious plot, I probably wouldn’t have noticed those tiny, purple wildflowers I saw growing along the roadside. They’ve just popped up this week announcing winter’s end. No bigger than the tip of my little finger, each small flower had four perfectly formed petals. They’re the changing season’s first touch of color, randomly painted against the drab background of February’s yard.
Distracted by music or words, I might have overlooked the hundreds of wind-blown pine needles stuck in the grass, standing at odd angles as if they’d been arrows shot from a bow. Most likely, I would have paid no attention to the pale swirls of sand that washed down from the hillsides to form what looked like miniature beaches, here and there along the pavement’s edge. The same goes for the different colors of moss that decorated the sloping banks of earth leading into the woods.
Humming a tune or concentrating on unraveling a mysterious plot, I probably would have blindly ignored the ant hills, the wild mushrooms, the clouds with all their various shapes and sizes, not to mention those fresh deer tracks left in the soft, Georgia mud, still damp from a drizzle of rain.
Be good to yourself. Take a walk. Better yet, grab someone by the arm; look them squarely in the eye and say, “Come with me. Walk this way.”
Editor's note: This piece, written by Kathy Wright of Eatonton, appears in the Jan/Feb 2020 issue of Lakelife Magazine. It paired perfectly with the special time-exposure photograph taken by George Dissmeyer, who also lives in Eatonton. The photo was taken during the Super Moon at Rock Eagle, which when using the long exposure, created a daylight-like image with stars in the blue sky.