Confessions of a Street Walker – part 21

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It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last five years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

Earlier this week I came closer to finishing up the Upper Stoney Creek Mountain. Lots of this area was quite rural. What I noticed about rural is that there seemed to be so much more wildlife. When I parked the car on a dead-end street I saw a crane taking flight from a nearby pond and I saw a turkey wandering down a driveway.  Farms abound and I saw horses and cows and sheep and even alpacas.20190909_092955_1-COLLAGE

Heading back to the car I saw a cat. Most cats are scared of strangers but this one came running up to me so it could push its head against my legs. 20190909_100104After some very appreciated belly rubs (I rubbed the cat’s belly – not my own) it began to follow me. I was forced to ignore it and it eventually went up a driveway. Boy, I like friendly cats and I confess that this one made me want to pick it up and take it home. I didn’t, of course, but I wanted to.

The other wildlife I encountered was the buggy kind. Lots of hoppy, flying and crawling critters line country roads and so when a car would approach I would head towards the shoulder so I could walk as far away from the road as I could. The thing is – the closer I came to the weeds the more I stirred the frenzy of grasshoppers and other insecty creatures that were lying in wait ( I am sure ) ready to pounce. While I am not really that scared of most insects when they jump up towards my face I do tend to try, enthusiastically, to remove myself from their path. So, once again, my arms start flapping to keep the dreadful invaders away from my person.

I can’t say that the picture below is completely accurate ( I rarely wear necklaces) but it sure feels like it sometimes.c05133ee03e8f976b5e117ad9b85e41b_woman-running-from-a-swarm-of-bees-stock-illustration-_800-627

I confess that I wonder what passing motorists think.

Some mysteries were noted on this walk:

20190909_094848Is this a field of weeds or some sort of crop? There is hardly any other flora in the field and it does look like a cultivated crop. Anyone know?

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20190909_094019What is this? My guesses include a play structure, a farm implement, or an art sculpture. What is your best guess?

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20190909_093305_Burst01_1And how do these people park their car?

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How is this tree still alive?

It was such a nice area to walk in.

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 20

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last four years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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Yesterday I managed to finish walking every street in lower Stoney Creek. The last street was the last part of a little cul-de-sac called Vanderwood Court (a bit of a nod to my Dutch heritage).  My transit map did not go to the farthest boundary so I added a piece of an old map to be sure that I had walked all the way to the Niagara Region.

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A man and his son were on their front lawn watching and when I explained what I was doing they made sure that I got a picture taken.

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I got to see some parts of Stoney Creek that I was not too familiar with:
-The Bur Oak on Cokers Road (see Confessions – part 16)
-Houses tucked up in the shadow of the escarpment
-That strange mystery bush on Reservoir Park Road (see Confessions – part 16)
-Fifty Point Conservation Area
-Beautiful homes looking out onto Lake Ontario and abandoned homes looking for someone with enough money to tear them down to make a bigger beautifuler houses
-Fruit businesses that were getting close to harvest time

I also walked past places that I have to put on my list to check out further as my walking project did not afford me the time to explore fully all of the interesting places that I passed by.
-Waterfalls and cascades that only seem to have access along trails
-Battlefield House – have not been inside yet
-Eco House on Ambrose – would love to work with them regarding The Soap Kitchen
-Josh Tiessen Gallery – Josh is a very talented painter. I have been a fan for many years.

I often parked at the Value Village on Queenston Road and would check it out when I finished walking. Or I would find a way to drop in on my way home. If I had a particularly long walk I would stop by the Denninger’s and get a ‘whistle dog’ for lunch. Yum.

I am hoping to have upper Stoney Creek done by the end of September although there are a few streets being built after I walked in that particular neighbourhood. I confess that I will have to do some hunting to catch them all. Most I have left is quite rural and I am enjoying those walks a lot. Looking forward to the next step.

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 19

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last four years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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I promised to reveal the mystery of the yellow bowl. I will attempt to do so.

On my walk last week down the rural roads of the Stoney Creek Mountain, I stumbled upon something that I found very interesting. There, by the side of the road was a yellow bowl. A big yellow bowl. Just sitting there next to the road. 

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I confess that I often see interesting things by the side of the road and I will have to confess further that if they are interesting enough I will bring them home. Sometimes I will bring along a bag and will pick up litter but, for the most part, I bring home things that I can use.  

*Anita climbs up on a soapbox* by the way, litter is such a disappointing thing to see because it seems so careless of people not to take the effort to put things where they belong – be it the garbage or the recycling. *Anita steps down from soapbox*

I once found a vase and a spoon that matched my silverware set. I found a nice sharp blue knife (try walking around with a sharp knife and try not to look suspicious or dangerous). I have found money – I have found two five-dollar bills and a ten-dollar bill on three separate occasions. I found a $100.00 American dollar bill that was trying very hard to be real but proved to be fake. I enjoy running across interesting things.

So when I happened upon the yellow bowl I thought I should take it home with me. My mother has another yellow bowl story that I will have to write about someday … but on with this story.

I was on the way back to the car and was not going to have to walk very far with this bright bowl of yellow so I picked it up. Sometimes these finds make me wonder how they got there. It’s like a mystery. Who owned it? How did it get there? Why did they no longer require the item? Was it set out for garbage collection on a very windy day? Was someone walking with the bowl and decided they didn’t want it anymore, and they just left it there by the side of the road? Did it blow off of the yellow bowl truck on it’s way to the yellow bowl convention?

Either way, I now possessed a bright yellow bowl and since possession is 9/10th of the law (or so they say) I walked down the road trying to look like everyone walking down the road should be clutching their own yellow bowl. I got maybe another 100 feet or so down the road and there was another yellow bowl. Exactly like the first one but I would have had to walk down into the ditch to retrieve it and so I left it there for some other walker who was yellow bowl-less. So another mystery and even more questions. Were the first yellow bowl and the second yellow bowl part of a set? Were they stolen property? Are the police searching for yellow bowl thieves?

I walked on further and spotted a couple of beer cans. I was going to be returning a box of beer bottles for the refund later that week and decided I would get the nickel that each can was worth. So I picked up two beer cans and put them in the yellow bowl. Ha! I just earned a whole dime. I turned onto Mud Street and was getting closer to my car. I then spotted another beer can and decided I would pick that one up too. Bad idea.

I pick it up and put it in the yellow bowl.  I looked down and I was mortified to see that from out of the beer can that I had just picked up was flowing MILLIONS of ants…ok, probably not millions … but there sure were a lot of them. Many, very many, lots.

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Pouring out of the can, very fastly, they began to crawl up my arm. It was a good thing it was so hot and humid out because my sweaty arm slowed down the ants’ progression. I was sure they were going to try to crawl their way into my body through my ears and mouth and nose so they could eat me alive. I had watched Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. I knew how this was all going to end. Oh, the horror.

What happened next happened rather quickly. I flung that yellow bowl, rather mightily, up into the air and it fell to the ground and rolled towards the ditch. Also raining down were three beer cans and millions of rather shocked ants. At the same time, I commenced with a rather strange windmill walk (again) while trying to shake off, brush away and otherwise divest myself of teeny tiny crawly ants that were, I am sure, trying to kill me. All the while I was trying to pretend that I had nothing whatsoever to do with the yellow bowl that sat by the side of the road.

I made my way back to the car bowl-less, can-less and mostly ant-less. I suppose that I managed to create a mystery of my own. Just why would someone leave a yellow bowl by the side of the road? You just never know.

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 18

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It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last four years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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So this was my Monday walk. It ended up being just over 10 miles. The Stoney Creek Mountain. Fairly rural. What pleased me was that I found a great place to park. A Catholic Cemetary was a good place to leave my car whilest I coddiwompled down the country roads.20190819_090213

Only one of the roads was fairly busy but the rest of them were quite pleasant to walk down. I saw another abandoned house that I really wanted to investigate further but I didn’t.

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The waist-deep weeds covering the driveway implied abandoned.

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I was too chicken to think that I was trespassing but there were no signs and that does seem to imply permission.

Now I am rather a sign-follower. If someone went through the trouble to put up a sign then they mean it, yes? But a larger-than-imagined number of streets that I walked down on this project of mine were guarded by clear signs that said that no one was to trespass.
S-16156Abut maybe they really mean this:no-trespassing-vintage-metal-signs-home-decor
There were some streets that just did not want non-residents to be there but what about almost invited guests? Can a pizza guy deliver there? Can I go to look at a house for sale on that street? The sign implies that I can’t.

What about the ‘Authorized Parking Only.’ signs? Our church even posts ‘Authorized Parking Only’ signs. Does that mean that they will tow any car that has not received authorization? I suppose it means that they CAN tow me away if I want to park there. And just how do I go about getting authorization when the building is closed? These signs feel quite threatening and I am not usually one to challenge them but the need for me to walk down that ‘no trespassing’ street is greater than the threat it implies. That in mind, I am always respectful of the homes and businesses that I wander past or through when I walk.

I used to park in a grocery store parking lot and once got a clear letter stuck to my windshield telling me that I should never park there again because I was not a customer. The next time they saw my license plate in their parking lot I would be towed. This was in an area with a shortage of parking but I used to park early and walk for two hours and when my walk was over I would buy some groceries from that store. I confess that I was a little miffed by that and I guess I won’t ever park there again.

Next : The Mystery of the Yellow Bowl.

 

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 17

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last four years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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Continue with me on one of my typical walks. Wednesday, August 14th – part 2

This walk included me waddling my way up and then down our escarpment. Some of these mountain accesses are hardly safe to walk up or down but Fifty Road seemed pretty safe. There were a couple of spots where I felt that I should hug the guard rail as a car went by but I did not have any close calls.

Hamilton – City of Waterfalls is a tag line used often. Because of our escarpment, there are plenty of places that water ends up spilling over to the lake-side of the city. Some are rather scenic and some are basically drainage ditches that wander down to Lake Ontario – eventually. Going up and then down Fifty Road I spotted three places which would probably be classified as waterfalls even if there appeared to be very little water flowage happening but it has been dry lately.

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I don’t know if any of them had names but I did find one closer to the top that did. Google Maps promised me that I would be walking past the ‘West of Fifty Upper Cascade’

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The problem was that it appears to be on private property – actually someone’s home – but Google said that it ‘closes at 11pm’. The sign said ‘No Trespassing’ and that is a sign that I do try to obey. (more confessions about that in the next blog) I never did find a pathway to the cascade although it is possible that you can get there by following the Bruce Trail which cuts across the road halfway up the access. Maybe one day I will tackle the Bruce Trail.

There are some clever retaining walls alongside the road. In this case, smaller rocks can work like big rocks when they are trapped within wire cages to keep the rocks from falling on the road and erosion from happening. I thought that these stones looked interesting because of the splotches of white.

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I confess that I picked up a pretty one that had tumbled out for my ‘pretty rocks from neat places’ collection.

After the escarpment access was conquered I wandered back to the car. Before I got there I did step into quite a dip in the shoulder without noticing it ahead of time. My knee buckled and I wobbled with arms windmilling but I did not fall.  It was a close call but I was able to perform a rather athletic  ‘she’s gonna fall-no she won’t-oh yes she will’ dance before I was able to right myself. I’m rather proud of that actually. A good reminder to keep my eyes on my pathway.

Nearing the end of my walking adventure of the day I spotted this rock fence. Gorgeous. I would love to have one of these but they are entirely impractical for all of the work and money that it would take to construct one in front of our house. *sigh*

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My final approach to return to my parked car was a riot of colour growing alongside construction sites. We work so hard in our gardens to grow things to make our yards pretty but look at this … and we just call them weeds. It was planted by no one but Mother Nature but quite appreciated by this walker.

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You can see that my walk took about three hours – so I do not go fast. Just fast enough to enjoy the view and take in the sights.

Thanks for coming along for one of my walks.

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 16

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last four years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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Come along with me on one of my typical walks. Wednesday, August 14th – part 1

I am currently finishing up walking all of lower Stoney Creek. I usually go on one of my longer walks once a week – typically Monday mornings. This past Monday was just over 9 miles and then I managed to squeeze another walk in yesterday.

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This is sort of typical of one of my walks. I wish that I had taken more pictures over the last almost-five years but when picture-taking becomes the objective then I would get way too distracted. Walking is the goal but sometimes I just get the urge to snap something interesting – to me at least. I managed to take a few pictures on this walk.

So early yesterday morning found me near the outer boundary of the City of Hamilton and I crossed over into the Niagara Region. I pressed start on my walking app but didn’t notice that it was not on until I was quite far down South Service Road along-side the QEW. So I started it properly (the green dot on the above map) and continued on.

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I passed a rather dead skunk (no picture – it was gross)

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I let my route take me out of Hamilton because it was going to be shorter to just walk that way instead of doubling back to stay in Stoney Creek. Now this project has been confusing in regards to figuring out the boundaries. In 2001 the city of Hamilton amalgamated with a number of neighbouring towns to become the City of Hamilton at the same time they all maintain their own identities.

Stoney Creek is one of those towns but next to Stoney Creek, there are also smaller communities called Fruitland and Winona. So I was walking within the City of Hamilton – but I was not – I was also within the boundaries of Stoney Creek – but I was not in Stoney Creek – I was in Winona. I confess that it can be utterly confusing for those of us who live here – let alone people who are trying to travel through.

So I walked back into Hamilton (rather Stoney Creek) (actually Winona)Screenshot_20190814-121531_1

One of the roads on my route was called Coker’s Lane and years ago I recalled reading something about a huge tree on that road and I wondered how easy it was going to be to find it. I enjoy walking where trees are nearby. I usually try to walk on the side of the street where there is shade and love the sheltering branches that tower above. I usually smile upwards to let the tree know I appreciate it’s shade.

Well, I was pleasantly surprised to spot that oak tree. Nestled by the foot of the escarpment – there it was.

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Pictures don’t really do it justice.

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It was very easy to find because there was a plaque and everything.

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I love trees.

I also saw a species of tree or bush that I don’t think I’ve seen before. It was half-way up the escarpment at the end of Reservoir Park Lane.

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With rather odd-looking cones? fruit? seed?

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Does anyone out there know what it is?

Stay tuned for the second half of my 8.14.19 walk…

 

Confessions of a Street Walker – Part 15

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last four years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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When I am out walking I do not always pay attention to the street names. But sometimes I do. Especially when they are the same name as my children. I am not so good at selfies but thought it was worth trying.

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It is not spelled with an ‘E’ but this little street in Dundas is one on which my daughter named Anne actually lived on.

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Shirley Street on the east mountain

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I also found a Laura Court

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And it is hard to see but I also found Karen Crescent on the west mountain

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And there is a Henry Street downtown.

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And an Andrew Court on the central mountain.

I confess that I would like to start looking for grandchildren now. I have 10 grandchildren and have found a few already. I will keep on looking.

 

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 14

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last four years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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Some of the country roads that I want to walk on yet have their challenges. Where to park? What about the narrow shoulders? How to best stay safe? I try to take advantage of long weekends to walk on roads that might otherwise be busy.  I was walking on the Stoney Creek Mountain and I confess that I parked in a country market parking lot that was guarded with stern signs stating clearly ‘PRIVATE PROPERTY – NO TRESPASSING – Authorized Personnel ONLY – Trespassers will be Prosecuted’ but no one was there to authorize me so I parked anyways, rebel that I am. With such strongly worded signs, I wonder where they expect their customers to park. I walked from the store to Highway 20 and jig-jogged to the escarpment edge and then back along Tapleytown Road. I wore a fluorescent vest and for the first time this year, I did not wear a jacket. Yesterday’s walk was mighty long and you can see that it took me almost four hours. I confess that when I am done walking I’m always happy to see that my car has not been towed away or stolen. Which made me think…how would I know if it was towed or stolen? I suppose I would have to first contact a store which is closed to find out if they are cranky enough to follow their own signs.

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What I noticed on my walk that I did not expect was the high number of country properties that are gated and fenced and guarded by barking dogs who acted like they wanted to rip my face off.

I do not believe that I have ever put on more than 30,000 steps in one day until yesterday.

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I am walking a little funny today.

Funny – strange and funny – haha.

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 12

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last four years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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My walk this week had me coddiwompling through Ancaster. It was a Monday morning and it turned out to be garbage/recycling pickup day. I remember a time when I would plan my walks around when it was recycling day because I was one of ‘those’ people.  The (usually) guy people who search the blue recycling boxes for bottles and cans of the alcoholic persuasion to be turned in to the beer store to collect the refund on the deposit. Quite often it would be guys who were a little down on their luck because most people are not that willing to work as hard as they do. They are often out there rain or shine – and early enough to beat the recycling truck. Not an easy task.

Now, I was not one of ‘those’ people because of collecting glass bottles and cans but I would pick up plastic containers that I could use for The Soap Kitchen.

To make a long story even longer – I run monthly workshops where I teach people to make their own laundry soap. It is eco-friendly, ultra low-cost laundry soap. When making this laundry soap I need containers that can hold liters and liters of the laundry soap to give away.

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The containers we use can be any waterproof container but we do have favourites. Handles are best and clear containers are easiest to pour into and different sizes are useful as well. I provide all of the supplies for each workshop so I have to have a huge stash of containers ready to go. When I first started The Soap Kitchen I would find out which neighbourhood had recycling day and plan my walk accordingly.

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My walks no longer include container hunting because I have so many people collecting them for me. Arlene and Henry provide me with a steady stream of orange juice containers. Doreen and Minnie bring bags of containers when they come to the workshop. People hand me laundry detergent containers in the fellowship hall after church. They have to be rinsed out well and then they are ready to share with lots of people.

Since I no longer include laundry-soap-suitable container collecting on my walks I no longer take along large bags to hold the containers I would come across. But on Monday I was walking past a place that had some of my favourite containers (the Simply Orange brand) peeking out of the recycling box. I noticed that they were all tied together and I would be able to carry it easily. So I scooped them up and they accompanied me on the remainder of my walk.

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Now I will confess that it may have looked a little odd with me marching down the quiet streets of Ancaster with the grand loot that I had accumulated clunking at my side but there it was.

I noticed a meter-reader in the court I was walking on and she could not resist asking if I was really thirsty.  Of course, I had to tell her why I was walking around with this treasure. I told her about my walking project and about The Soap Kitchen and she seemed genuinely interested. I think I remember that her name was Christine and she was so lovely to chat with.

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 I really do meet the nicest people.

 

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 10

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last four years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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If you’ve ever seen me walking and catch me laughing to myself it’s probably because someone is whispering in my ear. I often listen to podcasts while I am out walking the streets. I could listen to music but I haven’t figured out a good free music app yet.

There are times and places to listen to the eternity of stuff that there is out there waiting for us. I also think that too many people spend too much time on their devices and I confess that I must also include myself in that declaration. Sometimes communication with real people with real ideas can be lost to some earbuds and that can be a little sad.

That said, the three podcasts that I have currently queued are:

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Radiolab – Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich take me places I would not likely find on my own and I always feel smarter after listening.

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TedTalks – From economics to science to history to the future. It’s all told in easy to understand ways. I appreciate the content and the variety which challenges my mind.

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Penn’s Sunday School – This podcast is from the talkative half of Penn & Teller – a terrific magic act based out of Las Vegas. I’m a big fan of Penn. I have a number of his books and his essays are particularly thoughtful. I have listened to each episode and Penn, Michael Goudeau and Matt Donnelly are especially good storytellers. Penn is an atheist and I’ve learned how to be a better Christian (well… person) from their conversations. The language can get quite salty (translation: there is plenty of swearing) but, for me, it’s worth my time to listen to their ideas even if they oppose mine.

Listening to these podcasts is sort of like listening to a really smart friend.

So while I spend time listening while I walk – I also spend time talking…to God.

How is that for a walking partner? The Creator of the Universe and I have some pretty great conversations (albeit they will be considered by most as one-sided).

I pray for myself and the people I know. I pray about things I am thankful for and things that trouble my soul. I believe that He hears my prayers. I often pray for the homes I walk past or the neighbourhoods that I walk in. That thought fills me with a sense of community and a sort of contentment. It’s not really about letting God know what’s happening on this blue dot in this space and time – He already knows but it sure does feel good to talk to Him. But then again, I don’t have to be walking to do that.

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