Bennie Is My Relentless Personal Trainer on a Leash

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Susan Dromey Heeter

Bennie loves a good walk too.


In my joyful musing of a life, today I celebrate the most simple of movements, the easiest of exercise, the moving of a muscle that requires so little.  Today, dear Joyful Musers, I celebrate the art of the walk.

And, truly, there really is not much of an art – it’s simply putting one foot in front of the other, moving from point a to point b.  I love to walk; am currently in my first “step competition” – a contest to see which team can walk the most.  I am stoked – especially as during this pandemic I have found the most glorious reprieve in the walk, the stroll, the movement of my two feet.

My personal trainer is Bennie, our border collie/beagle mix who insists upon walking at least three times a day. He’s relentless, shows no mercy when I beg to sit on the couch, take a pause.  “No!” he insists, “Get that fat ass moving and take me by the fields, walk me by the cows, bring some plastic bags to pick up my excrement. Now, woman, now!!”  Relentless, I tell you, relentless.

Susan Dromey Heeter

But he does get me moving.

And, truth be told, I’ve always enjoyed walking.  I walked to and from elementary school every day with my friend, Joan. About a mile, we’d take different routes depending on if we had change for candy. Sometimes we’d go to Cumberland Farms where the clerk was a gentleman named Norm who wore a toupee.  He’d sell us our Sprees and Razzles and the walk was always made better with candy.  We’d talk of teachers, classmates and learned about sex, about smoking cigarettes.  Walking home was not an official activity, but it is where I learned so much; including that I could make Joan laugh so hard she’d wet her pants.  

These days I walk with a podcast, with Bennie and gently enter the day. I thrilled in walking this past winter enveloped in the darkness, wearing my orange vest, basking in the cold, cold air.  Walking gets me outside myself – both literally and figuratively. I can forget about the rugs that need vacuuming, the dishes to put in the washer, the assignments to grade.  I trudge. I plow on. I relax and smell and notice the sun rising, the trees changing, the birds announcing a new day.

And for these reasons, I’m not a treadmill or gym going kind of gal; I like my own soundtrack and have found the tvs in the gym too much of a distraction, too much noise.  I don’t want Kim Kardashian on my walk; I don’t want ads for Target or Viagra to cloud my mind.  I want simply to walk, to notice, to pause in the vibrancy of life – to stroll into something of a meditation of the day.

Currently our “Step Sisters” team is doing well in the competition; I delight in being part of, in contributing to a healthy effort.  And I wish for you, Joyful Musers, a lovely walk today, in the spring air, with or without a relentless trainer like Bennie.  It’s always good to take a walk; I muse joyfully you will. 

Susan Dromey Heeter is a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards.

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