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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Measure (01/10/13)

TITLE: The Measure of a Walk
By Laura Hawbaker


I am not quite sure what my dog, Jack, thinks of my new treadmill. He watched curiously while my husband assembled it in the garage. The garage is Jack’s winter headquarters, so he feels duty bound to investigate this new contraption. He is head of garage security and had to make sure this intrusion of his space is permitted. He nosed around until we chased him outside, but later my husband noticed Jack had “marked” all four corners of the treadmill.

Now, when a dog marks something (polite way of saying he peed on it) does that mean he is claiming it as his territory or does it mean he has a strong dislike for the target he is aiming at? Is Jack claiming the treadmill, or does he hate the thing?

Actually, I am not sure how I feel about the treadmill either. Walking for twenty minutes without going anywhere does seem kind of silly.

The treadmill was my idea in the first place. Walking is my favorite exercise and in fair weather I sometimes walk twice a day. My morning walk is my prayer walk, just God and I walking and talking together. In the evening I am often joined by my husband and Jack. Jack is always eager and excited to walk with us; chalking up two or three miles to our one as he races off to explore exciting smells and rabbit trails.

However, I am a bit of a wimp. I don’t walk if it is too cold, too breezy, too wet or too muddy. Vowing that I was not going to let winter fat sneak up on me this year, I declared it was time to invest in a treadmill.

My husband was in complete agreement and so the purchase was made, the directions studied, pieces assembled and no matter the weather it was time to walk!

Jack was napping on his pillow in the garage when I took my first treadmill walk. I stood on the belt, grasped the cold metal handles and pushed the start button. “Whirr, whirr,” the belt beneath my feet sprang to life. I was walking! The panel in front of me lit up imparting what looked like very important information. Fascinated, I studied the array of digital numbers deciphering what each one meant. I discovered one set of flashing numbers displayed my speed, another how many minutes and seconds I had been walking and how far I had gone. And, oh glory be, yet another told me how many calories I had burned! A progress report, all measured out in numbers right before my eyes.

I glanced up and noticed Jack watching me. He trotted over to the treadmill and just stood there staring. No tail wagging, no excited prancing. Was that a look of disdain in his eyes? I could just imagine his thoughts. “Are you kidding? You call this taking a walk??? Where is the fun in this?” With disgust he ambled back over to his pillow to resume his nap.

I do think the treadmill was a worthwhile purchase, but I tend to agree with Jack. Walking on the treadmill is exercising, working out, burning calories, but it is not taking a walk.

I plan to keep up my treadmill walking over the next few months, but I am looking forward to spring when the success of my walk is measured in the freshness of the air, the twitter of the birds, the greenness of the trees, the pleasure of the walk, not in the miles per hour or the number of calories burned. And Jack can mark any tree or bush on the trail that he wants!

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This article has been read 347 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dannie Hawley 01/17/13
I really enjoyed this article! Reminded me of my sister's dog, who stared at her on the treadmill, brought her his leash in his mouth, and tilted his head as if to say, "Where's the room for me on here?" Nicely done and I agree...it's not a walk, even if it is good for us to exercise on a treadmill! When in the States, I watch the evening news when walking on mine, no pretense of a walk there!
Linda Goergen01/19/13
Oh I really enjoyed this story, from the humor of visualizing Jack, to the lackluster enjoyment of a treadmill. Indeed, progress numbers before your eyes can never measure up to the pleasure of being out in nature, breathing in God’s beauty and handiwork as you walk along, wondering what special thing God might lay before your eyes along your journey. Your body may be exercising on a treadmill, but your senses are bored! LOL Unique and creative story for the topic! Great job!
C D Swanson 01/22/13
Cute story. I especially loved the dog! Clever and well written.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/23/13
I could totally relate to the MC. I have tried ways to keep exercising in the winter months but there is something special about walking outside hand in hand with God. Sure he is on the treadmill too, but I have a greater sense of him in the great outdoors.
Beth LaBuff 01/24/13
I think we have the exact same walk-ethic. :) Fair-weather walkers only. I enjoyed reading your story and Jack's thoughts made complete sense. He made me smile.