If a livable city includes walk-ability, I decided the first steps of my challenge to live local would be to accomplish an errand by walking. We have a library just a few blocks away, a treat for a bookworm in Uber-Suburbia. After the shock of the previous day’s fill-up, I figured this would be a good outing to launch my efforts.
It’s not like I didn’t know this hometown library existed. I’d signed up for a card when we moved to the neighborhood 15 years ago. But back then the library was part of the high school, very few hours of service and only a small inventory. I’d taken my reading cravings elsewhere. When the city built a new library, I continued to think of it as second rate. Was that still true? Could I change a 15 year habit? Would my card still be active?
My husband had been using this library recently, so I headed out at 11am, greased up with sunscreen, with a book to return and a water bottle in my sack.
Fifteen minutes up, way up hill I trudged because our city is built on a large incline. Just me and the cars to share the scenery of our foothills and planned open space.
Once there, I caught my breath (2 years of cardio kickboxing three times a week obviously wasn’t conditioning enough) bought 3 books from the daily book sale (giving back to the community on Day 1) checked out a book and movie (the card still worked) and ordered up 2 books from another Ventura County library (the first time my borrowing had ventured beyond the LA County system). Heading back at noon in 80° heat, 40% humidity, it was downhill, fortunately.
We are close to Oxnard, home of the strawberry and a farmer has parked an SUV filled with fruit on a side street every season for the past 3 or 4 years. I buy strawberries several afternoons a week, doing what I can to help local farmers. This year they added cherries. I bought some and walked home with care, making sure not to tip the box. A real errand, 3 in fact: a movie, some books for the week and cherries, food for the family. All accomplished by walking.
Then the following week ushered in summer with a bang - over 110° weather. While I definitely will patronize the library again, it will have to be during a string of errands via my Honda. Being neither a mad dog nor an Englishman, I will have to think of different ways to incorporate walking into my life during our long California summer.