Are you an au naturel walker, enjoying the sounds of the lawn mowers humming and birds chirping as you walk, or do you don the protective gear - hat, sunglasses and iPod - before embarking on your walk?
I enjoy hearing the birds when I sit outside for coffee, but when I'm out for a walk I'd prefer to have my mind occupied a bit more. I enjoy the change of pace music brings to my life. I live in New York City and unless I count the subway rats and the pigeons on my windowsill, or I go out to Central Park, there isn't much wildlife in my immediate neighborhood.
There are some city sounds I love: horse hooves tripping up 50th street as the hansom cabs from Central Park return to their stables; steam escaping from subway tunnels. (The jackhammers? Not so much.) So now and then I go for walks taking just my ears with me. But walking with my iPod and headphones has always had it's charms, whether in the city or country, because music changes my mood entirely and allows my walk to take on a life of its own. Sure, I could stay in the present and see my "real" neighborhood day after day. But how much more fun to allow myself the indulgence of seeing it through the blushing lens of Sting's Brand New Day, where haunting melodies like Desert Rose or A Thousand Years will transport me, just for a little while, to a magical kingdom that I can build. Yes it's a fantasy, but it involves STING and music and exercise, and tomorrow it could be, you know, Jon Bon Jovi or Andrea Bocelli for heavens sake. That isn't so bad, is it?