I knew I needed to take my walk this morning, but I also had to run an errand. So I combined the two needs and walked the 3 miles round trip, with the dog, to get the utility bill into the village drop box. This took me exactly one hour.
Half of my walk was in a no-sidewalk industrial park. So I was dodging work trucks, macks and semis. That, along with a dog who likes to sniff/mark every tree, post, and shrub, certainly did nothing to improve my time. (I also may have stopped for 5 minutes to rest at the gazebo and stare at the geese in the pond on the way home.)
On the return route, I was getting thirsty. Almost parched. It was warmer than I expected and I had overdressed. Though I took off a layer, I had not brought any water. My mouth was dry.
I allowed my imagination to revert to childish thoughts.
I imagined I was in a desolate urban landscape, my dog and I the sole survivors of a devastating, futuristic war.
We must find water.
Maybe a crust of bread to save for later.
Ach, never mind the bread, we must seek water or succumb to death.
We can't... fail.....must.... survive...
Fifteen minutes after that thought I was home, running filtered water into my cup and planning lunch.
But that brief, childish thought got me thinking about games I played in childhood. Often they were games of peril, but they were always powered by imagination.
Like the time I would pretend my bed was a sinking boat in a sea of sharks, and my only means of escaping their dangerous jaws was by stepping on randomly placed pillows and stuffed animals on my floor. This scenario was played out in various forms of doom and demise, including red-hot volcanic lava or an alligator-filled swamp.
Or the time after the dinner hour, when the sun was setting, casting a golden trail between the close-set houses of my neighborhood. Our front yards were bathed with light, but our backyards were dark save for the gold-paved "road" that led to our back fence. This was a scene just begging for me to link
arm-in-arm with my neighbor friend and belt out "Weeeeeee're OFF to see the wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz!" while skipping down the "yellow brick road."
Or playing board games or hide-out in a blanketed fort or backyard tent.
Or saving a big refrigerator box and turning it into a play store. This was a great game considering that my neighbor's dad was an office supply salesman. Plenty of envelopes, paper clips and rubber bands for our store shelves, complete with carbon-copy receipts to write on!
This is where my mind goes when I am thirsty during an arduous walk.
I hope this inspires you to take your own journey into childhood.
Just don't forget your water bottle.