On Time Apart & The Power of Walks

The beginning of a very enlightening walk – sculpture outside The Cannon Center For The Performing Arts

When I first visited Memphis to start my new job, Amarina and I hadn’t spent more than a night apart in almost three years. This is not a coincidence. Amarina is awesome and time apart is stupid. This is not to say that we both don’t cherish time to ourselves, we’re both tireless artists who thrive when lost in creative pursuits. But generally we’d rather be doing these things within arm-poking, thigh-pinching range. Suffice to say, when I needed to fly to a completely foreign city for a week it seemed incomplete without my other half.

My second visit to Memphis was two solid weeks BUT at the end Amarina rolled in for 36 hours of Memphis experience. It was so great to immerse ourselves in our new city as a twosome, even though most of the time was spent locking down our future apartment.

That first week was excruciating. Knowing that I had to get through a week, a weekend, and another week before I could see Amarina and sort out so many things was building a serious queaze in my stomach. This lead me to the most therapeutic activity I could think of, I went for a walk. An enormous walk. My adventurous afternoon combined several Favourite Human staples:

  • Going outside for some fresh air
  • Exploring new worlds on foot
  • Killing stress with strutting

It worked incredibly well!!! I definitely went overboard, walking 8+ miles over a 4 hour period. I covered a big chunk of downtown Memphis on foot before heading back again to my hotel home, my feet screaming in my shoes. 

Abandoned Bureau Of Weights and Measures

I was able to find my bearings in places that I had only driven to once or twice before, and it was nice to come upon something that I actually recognized. Strolling past a fantastic Vietnamese restaurant that I had eaten at the previous week, I decided to take Amarina there when she arrived (and I did! For our first meal together in Memphis.)

I got to Overton Park just before night fall to take a selfie with a majestic cement hippopotamus in front of the Memphis Zoo:

Making friends at the Memphis Zoo after hours

Wandering through the historic Evergreen District I realized virtually NO ONE gets around on foot for anything farther than a couple blocks. Like NO ONE. On my entire walk I came across maybe 30 people on foot, MAX. Coming from Toronto, a pedestrian playground, it was fascinating and eerie.

These birds in flocks of about 300 were everywhere in the Evergreen District, which smelled impossibly like campfire

Midtown wind sculpture after dark

Walking forevs made me feel normal again. I got out of my hotel tomb and saw some stuff. I did what I would have done had Amarina been there. Whenever either of us is juggling thoughts or cul-de-sac’ing on a particular problem, we walk it out. The very idea of this move to Memphis was tackled on a late night walk and many that followed.

BigMemphisWalk

The Route

A good walk can sort out:

  • How are we going to pull off ______ in so little time?
  • Where haven’t we walked to?
  • Where are all the adorable camper vans / trailers in the area?
  • What will be our next fantastic voyage?
  • Will “cul-de-sac’ing” ever take off as a verb?

One of the major advantages of moving south is being able to comfortably walk outside all year round, which brings this post back to the “Time Apart” theme – with a slight twist.

Living in Canada, we are forced inside by the diabolical winters which can last from late October to late April. During this period of blistering wind and variously infuriating precipitation, our walks are rare at best. This is when we both experience time apart from ourselves, from the outdoorsy people we are during the hospitable months of the year. The rest of the time we live in parks, we sling a mean hammock, we picnic, we LIVE to be outside. And every winter feels like an identity crisis.

I’m looking forward to not packing away our fair-weather selves every six months. Gone are the days of staring feebly out of our frosted windows into the gray blech of Canadian winter. 

xo Ron

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