Today Leslie and I, were joined by her parents Joe and Arlene and of course my sweet little angel Olivia for a training walk on the old railroad right of way that connects Corte Madera to Larkspur.
Leslie says that in reading my blog about my last walk what appealed to her most was the idea that in the middle or end of these walks I usually had a destination that involved some sort of food or drink. Walk in Healdsburg? stop to wine taste. Walk to the Ferry building? have a cold watermelon aqua fresca. Walk to Cavallo? enjoy a cappuccino and muffin... you get the drift.
These first walks of training are relatively short. And I usually pick relatively flat walks to just get the confidence up about distance before we throw in hills and valleys. And when you walk with kids you come with attachments, blankets, coats, strollers and bags of misc. So this was the perfect distance 4 miles total and the perfect destination... Rullis in Larkspur with the very best pastries in Marin.
The weather here has been extraordinary (albeit too dry). Chilly mornings give way to cool days as Mount Tamalpais stands majestically over looking us all.
We met at the Corte Madera Alain Pinel office and got ready to roll. It wasn't long until Olivia was insisting on walking. This little warrior walked or ran almost the entire way. She did ask to get in the stroller once on the way there so she could eat an almond. We all talked and Olivia joined in on occasion. Walking is a wonderful gift in that in addition to the walk itself, when you walk with people you have the best conversations. You learn things you didn't know. You share things that should be shared and everyone is richer for the honor.
At Rulli's eyes popped open as these relatively "New to Marin" people saw the display cases packed full of pastries and goodies worthy of the finest shops anywhere in Italy or France. Me, being on my (let's forget about the holidays diet) grabbed some fruit while Leslie and her crew grabbed almond croissants and a chocolate filled donut called a Bomboloni alla Crema. We snagged a table outside so the stroller could find room and dig in. The pure joy and pleasure on Olivia's face as she enjoyed her Bomboloni was priceless. The chocolate found its way from one side of her mouth to the other with an explanation point on the end of her nose.
For good measure she had a couple of bites of the croissant and finished half a bowl of fruit. On the way back, Olivia talked and walked a little faster and a little bolder. Maybe it was the sugar, or maybe it was she was filled with the sweetness of life.
I know one thing I was. Just watching her and remembering ti wasn't all that long ago I had a call from Leslie saying she had had a seizure. Then the surgery. Then the chemo. Then the stem cell transplant. If a little girl can go through this starting at the age of 2, brings a lot of the rest of life into vivid focus for me.
They call Cancer survivors brave. Not all of them are. I may have been a brave Cancer patient, but I was a frightened survivor who hid from the word Cancer for 14 years. With all that hiding I did, I didn't have a chance to live life to the fullest. I didn't taste the sweetness in all its glory. But I look at Olivia and I see the way it should be. Life will give us some horrible moments we have to endure. It may not be our choice, but if we are lucky enough to get through them, we can allow all of life's sweetness to delight us, so smear across our faces and dot our noses with the indulgence of it all. And the we can dance and skip and walk along the journey of our days.
This walk in 2012 is going to be an enormous blessing to me. Thank you Leslie for allowing me to show you Marin, while you and your family show me something even more beautiful.
HEY folks want to have some fun too? We are having a little super bowl fun here. Click on the link and if you want to play the password is BINGO. Follow the rules and who knows you may be smiling too.