One of the absolute highlights of having moved back to my original homeplace in Martinsville is that the neighborhood is so conducive to walking. There are lots of woods, beautiful homes, big hills (which I make a point not to shy away from), and some very nice folks. When I was growing up in the 1960s and 70s, Martinsville had a large industrial and commercial base — primarily furniture and textiles — which kept most of the town employed, and with a remarkably high standard of living. During those days, there were more millionaires per square mile in Martinsville than anywhere in the United States. Sadly, those big employers are long gone, and for many years, Martinsville was damn near a ghost town. The place is still largely a shadow of what it once was, but there are enough entrepreneurs and creative individuals who are dedicated to bringing a new renaissance to town that have helped reverse the negative trend. And there's still some old money floating around that has provided a bulwark against the influx of too many ghosts.
So, back to my original point, I walk two to three miles every day, usually mid-morning, and apart from occasional weather-related cancelations, I have managed to keep to the schedule religiously. Combined with a couple of weeks of barely being able to eat, thanks to complications from having a tooth yanked (see Fun and Games with Tooth Extractions," December 14, 2023), I've lost several pounds. Whether I can keep them off is the eternal question, but it would be nice to remain shed of some of that extra weight that just plain exercise doesn't excise.
Sometimes I walk in the woods, as there are a few decent trails around, some official, some less so. I own a plethora of geocaches in the area, and I try to keep them well-maintained. I've found a few entertaining decorative items in nearby yards, clearly indicating some creative residents (see photos). And the long walks are great for listening to audiobooks, which have about become my primary means of "reading," since my eyes don't hold up for long spells of usage the way they used to. I've gotten through Ian Fleming's entire James Bond 007 series, Stephen King & Richard Chizmar's Gwendy series, John Scalzi's Daikaiju Preservation Society, Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey, Peter Benchley's Jaws, William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist, Mark Frost's Secret History of Twin Peaks and Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier, F. Paul Wilson's The Keep, and I'm currently listening to the second of four books in friend/fellow author Leverett Butt's Guns of the Waste Land series. Many of these are "re-reads," but they're books I've been looking to revisit for the longest time, and what an enjoyable opportunity to get back to them it's been.
Here's hoping a tolerable winter, walking-weather-wise.
|About to embark on a chilly-weather excursion
|A closer look, and you might see a few hundred turkey buzzards gathered around Lake Lanier, just down the street from home.
|Another view of the lake