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Doug Loves Sarah #24, 27 May (2007)

The Return of the Long Walk

Sarah and I returned to the long walk last night (May 25, 2007). We set out from our apartment, hiked down University to Henderson, cut across to University Place school, went around the fence and then cut down the center of campus. Walked around Wilson Hall a bit and then headed down to the South Side of campus, around the University Park, through the old haunts of Saundralane (including 4205, the house best known as the "place where we first made out"...though one might suppose it is more important as the place where we first started dating...let's just say these events somewhat came in a non-standard order), up through Warner St, back down Holmes and up Jordan (literally, since a notable hill has to be crossed) then back down a path that sort of follows University Drive and back home. Rough estimates put this walk, excluding stairs and slight excursians, but also excluding diagonals, at about four miles. All told, we spent a little over two hours doing the walk, putting our general pace as pretty slow.

Walking appeals to both of us for the dual reasons of health, both feel we could let loose of a few pounds, as well as get our basic cardiovascular back up, and because it has a signficant history in our relationship. All of our original love making (in the Dickensian/Austenian sense of the word) was generally accompanied by a walk). There is also the undeniable fact that Sarah and I became engaged (in the mental sense) over our mutual ideas of isolationism and serenity.

In other words, our walks were a way for us to be the same time.

One of our shared complaints is how Huntsville so poorly addresses both the concept of public transportation (buses that run by the hour solve some of the problem, but since they often shut down hours before the city does, not all of them) and, at the same time, equally fails to address the concept of a pedestrarian society. Gas prices are soaring (while Sarah and I note an opposite effect in our pocket book) and yet vehicle use is higher than ever.

In other words, our walk was a mild, meek, and ineffectual protest.

And that is what makes it a big deal. At our core, Sarah and I are dissatisfied intellectuals, a pair of milquetoast reactionaries more concerned in recognizing the problem rather than proactively curing it. We like to read, study, learn abou the situation but we rarely do any outward anything to change it. For better or worse. I am not handing out moral statements, I am merely stating what is.

For us, those walks give life to this. Our original walks dealt with, as often as not, the precarious place that a woman of science who also wants to be a woman in a loving relationsip must stand. Wifedom or stardom, few relationships have enough (and usually just barely) room for one ground breaker (at this time, she was very much so passionate about astronautism). It was an affirmation that she could escape the direction life was handing her, and establish one herself.

Ironically, the strong emotional bond those walks inspired sort of killed the fervor to protest the state of the woman in marriage. Sort of. From that time, I have known Sarah's protests against the state of marriage handed to her, and I accept her wishes. Or at least I have accepted to what degree I can.

For those walks, like the walk we took last night, were not about changing the world, even if that topic came up more than once. They were simply about being able to live with the person you want to live with.

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