Personal Musings

Her Own Pace

One foot in front of the next. Slow and steady.

An elderly woman walks down my street every evening. If I had to guess her age, I would say she’s at least 90 years old, and more likely north of 95. She walks with a cane at her own pace.

It’s not just my street she walks down. She walks down the street beside mine and the street over from that and the next and the next. She covers at least a half mile to a mile every day.

I find her inspiring, particularly on days when I’m feeling particularly uninspired and lethargic. One foot in front of the next. Slow and steady. No excuses. I imagine her mental health and cardiovascular health are top notch, probably sounder than many a generation twenty years her younger.

Does she walk for her heart? Her head? Does she walk for those her age who no longer can? Was this once an activity she took part in with a spouse who is no longer here? Whatever the reason, she does so at her own pace.

The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.

Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Walk

By Jeffrey Pillow

Jeffrey Pillow is an American short story writer, memoirist, and poet. He is the author of The Lady Next Door. His writing has been published in Urge Magazine, The Nervous Breakdown, 16 Blocks, USA Today, Sports Illustrated,, New York Times, Washington Post, and Richmond Times-Dispatch.

He grew up in the small town of Phenix, Virginia, population: 200, and now lives in Charlottesville with his wife, two kids, and a dog named Mozzarella Cheese. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he was a Rainey Scholar. This is his blog.

2 replies on “Her Own Pace”

I hope I’m fortunate enough to walk like her when I’m her age. Quite inspiring.

I love the message. One foot in front of the other. Seems easy enough, right? We are always looking so far ahead. And also what an amazing woman.

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