Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

A North-woods Walk

October 1, 2015


If only words could let me share
But what can they do?
Re-imagining a morning walk
On an hilly dirt road
Through the woods
Past driveways leading down to the lake
To hidden cabins

Early morning rising sun
Leaves bursting with color
Light flirting with shadows among the trees
Aspens shimmering in an unnoticed breeze
It was very cool, if not cold
Hands taking turns
Between pocket and hiking stick

A deer’s follow-me white flag
Bounding, bounding, bounding … gone
At the bottom of a hill
A pair of ducks exploding from a small pond
Little flocks of tiny birds
Gathering something for breakfast
Amidst the weeds and lingering wildflowers

Unnoticed before
The breeze has picked up
And plays with the holes in my walking stick
A horrible flute
Producing a tone that is simply beautiful
Appearing then vanishing
With the rhythm of my gait

An hour later
Back at the cabin
Sitting by the window
Steaming cup of coffee
Sparking lake beyond the sheltering glass

© 2015 Thomas W. Cummins

I Saw Her Coming

June 29, 2013



About one block
Into my morning run
My moment of solitude
Listening to birds
Feeling the rain
Leftover rain
Last night’s rain
Peering over
Leaves’ edges
Before completing
Their journey
Plunging to the pavement
I saw her coming
A half block away
Do you ever feel like
Not talking?
I mean really
Not talking?
Maybe I could
Commence my running
Pick up my pace
Smile and wave
Hurry on by
I stopped
In the sun
I stopped
In the burning-through-
Hot sun
I stopped
We talked
And we talked
We talked
About her son
Normally with her
A man with a disability
He is her constant companion
When he is in daycare
A respite
For her
A break
For her
Relief from his 35 years
For her
So she walks
And she talks
If one stops
For her

 © 2013 Thomas W. Cummins

A cup of coffee has much appeal

December 19, 2010

Noticing the front doors of homes along my running route has become part of my routine. The variety of colors is more than one would expect, some subdued, most tasteful, an occasional one – shocking. One of the homes, a house with a very steep roof built for a snowy winter somewhere else, had a purple door which looked surprisingly good with the off-white brick and dark brown shingles.

Today, I saw a door so yellow that one couldn’t help but look at it. I mean really, really yellow … YELLOW!! An arrow-shaped neon sign at the curb would have added nothing to the visibility of that entryway. For a few steps along the sidewalk, I wondered if they knew that the store will mix a color for you; that it isn’t necessary to buy the color off the shelf. But maybe they like it.

As I ran along, I recalled a door I saw during a run a couple of years ago. When I got home I said, “There is a door on a house in a neighboring subdivision that is the same color as the doors up at the cabin. It really looks good.”

“Yeah, I know, I’ve seen it. That’s the same color as our front door.”

“And it really looks great! I love that color more and more every time I see it.” (That’s the color of our front door? How long has it been that color?)


I’m trying to establish some regularity to my aerobic exercising, paying more attention to time and making a commitment to head out the door around 8:00 a.m. Prison days, Monday and Thursday, are out since I leave too early. Afternoon or early evening running has never been my thing. Cross-training days, Tuesday and Saturday, are out. That leaves Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.

On the downside, it takes little to keep me in the warm confines of my living room. Oh, it seems too windy, too cold, a threat of rain, too many icy patches, and a cup of coffee while looking out the window has much appeal.

I’m simply and forever grateful

March 24, 2009

Thirty-one years ago today I put on a pair of new running shoes and went out to see what jogging was all about. Getting some exercise transformed my life and has served me well though all sorts of trials. The old expression about not adding years to your life, but adding life to your years, is certainly true.

My mileage is modest and only for fitness. But I have had the privilege of  running in Muscatine, Iowa, … Cincinnati, Ohio, … Eldorado, Arkansas … St. Louis, Missouri … Washington, D.C. … Mystic, Connecticut … Springfield, Massachusetts … Dayton, Ohio … Palm Beach, Florida … Houston, Texas … Memphis, Tennessee … Minneapolis, Minnesota … Tokyo, Japan … Seoul, Korea … Kenting, Taiwan … Scotland … England … and a host of other places on odd trips here and there. In Tokyo, my daily run was around the Imperial Palace grounds. And believe me I wasn’t the only one out on the roads in either Tokyo or Seoul. Sunrise exercises were the norm.

Any road races were purely social but included 3 half-marathons, several 15k, 10k, and 5k events. I have shared the road with Paul Cummings, Mary Decker Slaney, Bill Rodgers, Julie Isphording. My favorite race with a 10 miler north of Alton, Illinois along the Mississippi River. It was flat, foggy, misty, about 39 degrees, and I was in a singlet and shorts. Perfect for a run of such length.

I seldom run if it is over 80. The coldest temp was -12. There has been one fall — on snow-covered ice in Cincinnati. Seven years were spent running 3.5 miles several days per week with a blind man tethered to me by a small coiled cord. He also was able to water ski and downhill ski, so his physical sense was well developed due to being sighted until his early 20s.

But all in all, and after 31 years, I’m simply and forever grateful for the capability and opportunity to get out on the road, get the pulse up, breathe deeply, and listen to the birds.

Beyond what one would expect

March 23, 2009

Mozart’s Mass in C minor plays on a Sony Walkman CD unit hooked to a couple of miniature battery-powered speakers near my weight machine in a corner of our basement. My workout time goes quickly and much more peacefully than when the news is on.

Yesterday was the recognition Mass and brunch for volunteers in the Criminal Justice Ministry of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Testimonies given by three offenders, now returned to society, were beyond what one would expect and should remove any doubt as to the importance of our work in this ministry. Each year this event is a highlight for me and my wife.

Breaks from news coverage

February 2, 2008

Tuesdays and Saturdays are my so-called weight training days. A small Universal®  gym has been against one basement wall since 1988, and not gathering dust, I am pleased to say. The effort seems to have been working over the years. My goals are modest, to be able to keep tying my own shoes as time goes by and to fend off any twinges while doing odd jobs around the house.

The manual which came with the machine has a toning routine which includes 13 assorted exercises, light easy stuff. During each session, however, the total repetitions do approach 500. Even a small exertion done 500 times is bound to be helpful when compared to channel surfing or turning pages in a magazine. Although I like that too.

There is another piece to my motivation. I grew up in a family with a chiropractor on speed dial. Back and neck aliments, headaches, you name it, it was there. So, if I can keep some semblance of muscle balance and tone, there should be a payoff somewhere down the road. And, I suspect, there already has.

Sirius Satellite Radio®  keeps me company while down in that basement corner. This morning the channel was “Classic Vinyl” under the rock category. Occasional breaks from news coverage have become more and more welcome, especially during the campaign season.

A little rock music with no news also helped calm me down. Last evening I watched Bill Moyers Journalon PBS. After listening to Henry Waxman summarize some of his oversight investigations, my anger toward our government almost kept sleep from my bedroom door. January 20, 2009 will be like having the country fumigated … at least for a while. I can’t wait. In the meantime, keep investigating.