Walking can be enlightening as well as invigorating

May 15, 2022

As spring takes a firmer foothold on our Cape Region weather, the tendency to take walks increases. Several of my journalistic colleagues have already written about the trails in the community, so none of that shall be repeated. What we shall attempt is an examination of the reason why walking with oneself or with another or others is so inviting. There is something extremely cleansing about it all, not to mention the good exercise we hear and read about constantly. The walking we are about to explore does not involve our trails. As a city-reared person, I am much more familiar with streets and blocks and stores and lampposts, and even clocks.

When I first arrived in the Cape Region 17 or so years ago, I was a daily walker on the Rehoboth Boardwalk from the jewelry store on the south end to the rug emporium on the north. As time progressed, and I moved from my 60s to my 70s in age, the ability of my knees and legs to support my own walking on a daily (or even weekly) basis became less. However, I never forgot the feelings which thrived within me and no doubt others during the walking process. So why do we go through the work of putting one leg in front of the other, usually during the morning hours, for a certain period of time? I alluded to a clearing of the head as a plausible reason for our love of the walk, but let us examine some more mundane reasons.

City walking, as I like to call it, allows the person to observe the shops and stores and even houses which line the streets on which the healthy legs ramble. If you are a boardwalk and/or a street stroller, you may be as fascinated as I have been with the changes which occur in the landscape on an almost annual (or at least biannual) basis. My Rehoboth Avenue walkers can give themselves a quiz we’ll call, “What the <bleep> was here before?” Actually, it is our tourists who probably notice the changes from year to year to year as they traverse The Avenue. Then there are the walkers of Second Street in Lewes who note fewer changes in the names of the stores, but love to walk the streets of the city nonetheless. Not in the same volume are the walkers in Milton who enjoy their strolls too.

The location of the street where we walk counts little; it is the performance of this ambulatory activity which is a matter of interest and joy. Let us add a friend or companion to the mix, doubling the excitement and the fun. As we traverse the concrete with our feet, we complement the pedestrian with the loquacious. The storefronts and aromas blend with our words and breaths as we plippity-plop along our street of choice enjoying one another’s comments. Did you ever notice that a conversation in motion is easier than a similar activity across a kitchen table? Hence the phrase often uttered, “Let’s go for a walk,” when circumstances are such that verbal interaction is warranted. There is something invigorating about the ebb and flow of words and fresh air, making walking with a friend or loved one such a pleasant experience. Inherent in the journey is the fact that the mind and tongue are appropriately distracted as we pass some new and different structures during our journey. Let us not leave out the potential likelihood of meeting some other human being from within our circle as we walk in town. What an additional asset, a third or fourth party with whom we can share this mobile street experience!

Well, we are finally back to the summer season at the beach, with all the hopes that the various mandates, guidelines and suggestions of recent years are in the rear-view mirror, and we have returned to the normal notices about shirts and footwear. Remember those! We also can walk again with no impediment to our breathing nor altering of face gear if one opts to make a stop during the walk.

So, this is for all those readers who enjoy walking on the sidewalks of our streets and avenues, observing what is and what was, with some contemplation of what shall be. Rejoice that walking has also returned to our lives, not just on the trails which have been thoughtfully provided for us, but on the roads being less traveled for merely walking purposes. A salute and a shoutout of “Walk on!” is respectfully showered upon Rehoboth Avenue, Second Street and Federal Street, and to those who derive enjoyment from such pedestrian adventures.



  • Peter E. Carter is a former public school administrator who has served communities in three states as a principal, and district and county superintendent, for 35-plus years. He is a board member for Delaware Botanic Gardens and Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation, and the author of a dual autobiography, “A Black First…the Blackness Continues.”

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