I’ve been meaning to get this brief piece finished and posted since the first couple of days in May but ‘Mr. Murphy’ and outside commitments conspired to make that a pipe dream. Given I now have a bit of free time after completing my last 1,355 steps – I try to put down at least 1,150 steps at the top of each hour from 05:00 to 11:00 with a current target of 10,000 plus daily steps – I decided to get this piece done and posted. My blogging has kinda fallen off across the past four to six months; not sure why other than to observe my creativity just hasn’t been flowing. Of course, dedicating almost a quarter of each hour during the mornings to stepping does eat into my available time and the fact that I am a morning person and hence do my best work before noon only exacerbates this situation.
Anyway, as we rolled into May I was struck by some ‘firsts’ which I’d observed during this time. Some are reoccurring while some are just new activities/observations. One of the former variety involved observing my first American Robin of 2017 on April 24th in the early morning while walking with my Alaskan malamute (Anana) and my German Shepherd Dog (Qanuk). Actually I heard him – I’m pretty sure it was a male as it was well up in a birch and singing loudly so probably marking territory – first and then was able to visually locate him. There may well have been other robins around earlier but this was the first I’d heard and then seen in 2017. For those of us who observe birds in this area the arrival of robins from the lower 48 signals spring is definitely here.
Another reoccurring observation was awakening in the wee hours of the morning of April 27th to the ‘tap-tapping’ sound of rain on my metal roof. I love that sound but in a normal year one doesn’t hear it from mid-October to mid-November until April because most precipitation that falls during that time period is snow and the roof has a coating of ice and snow. I look forward to many more upcoming rainy nights as I love to lie in bed and listen to that sound. It also fascinates me to listen to the ebb and flow of the rain rate; in this area we don’t usually get a steady rain but rather experience rain bands of varying density. This can produce what is almost a melody if the bands are spaced in a continual pattern which is repetitive.
As to some firsts that are truly ‘firsts’ on April 30th I completed 35 consecutive days of 5,000+ steps per day. More than half of said 35 days involved putting down more than 8,000 steps and have helped me push my daily steps to their current 10,612 steps/day average. I’m fighting hypertension and obesity so I had to find some form of exercise which I could, and most importantly ‘would’, do at least six days a week. As of this writing I’m working on 44 consecutive days of at least 5,000 steps a day. Much of the daily morning muscle/joint pain and stiffness is now just a distant memory and I just realized I haven’t had a bout of depression since I began this regime. I saw no weight loss until I reached 9,500 steps per day; now the weight is very slowly beginning to disappear. My goal is to push myself to 12,500 steps per day; given 10,000 steps is the equivalent of around 4.9 miles for me such a goal would see me putting down at least six miles a day. I intend to continue walking at least 1,150 steps at the top of each hour between 05:00 and 11:00 in an effort to keep my system ‘energized’. I’m aware stepping as I do it is not a true aerobic activity but it does ramp up my system and it forces me away from the monitor and into motion once an hour. With luck as I drop more weight I’ll be able to start bicycling which will help my overall condition. Of course, my canine companions love my lifestyle change and are now completely expectant of at least one long walk every day. For anyone interested I use a Garmin Vivofit 2 wrist fitness monitor; the ‘Garmin Connect’ web-page is wonderful for tracking steps, calories burned, hours sleeping and similar!
A final ‘one time first’ for me occurred on April 14th when I sat in with my good friend Randy during his Friday evening classic rock music show at KTNA. Anyone following this blog knows I spent almost three years doing both newscasts and music shows at KTNA but I decided I’d come to philosophically based parting of the ways with the station at the end of December, 2016. While I’d done shows with other folks sitting in this was the first time the roles were reversed. It felt great to be back behind a mic and during Randy’s two hour show we received three calls complimenting us and our performance. All told it was a lot of fun although given it was a two hour show running until 23:00 it was a bit past my bedtime!
I put together this blog as a kind of celebration of life; not just my own but that of Nature and other folks as well. I’ve been so blessed to experience a two decade dream of living in semi-rural Alaska but coming up on my fourth full year of such an existence I’ve noticed I’m becoming a bit blasé regarding this situation and that both angers and saddens me. I know it is human nature to become ‘used’ to situations but I do not ever want to become ‘used’ to the majesty and splendor of my Alaskan home. If writing this helps me re-energize the awe and wonder I feel almost daily when I walk outside and immerse myself in Alaska’s magic then it has served its purpose. If it does so for others, regardless of where/how they live, then so much the better!