Editor's Note

An Ode to the Magical Cure-All That Is Walking

Just avoid freeways, if possible. And also, streets.

By Catherine Matusow January 28, 2019 Published in the February 2019 issue of Houstonia Magazine

This month, among its many wonderful offerings, Houstonia presents its guide to running, biking, and walking in the Bayou City. In honor of the occasion, and being familiar with 33 percent of those activities—i.e., walking—I’d like to share my favorite things about traveling by foot:

Walking is a magical elixir.

Houstonia’s brilliant managing editor, Dianna Wray, is known to pull out her Tiger Balm, always in her pocket or up her sleeve somewhere, the minute anyone near her mentions an ailment. Itchy throat? Tiger Balm. Headache? Tiger Balm. Mosquito bite? You guessed it. I feel the same way about taking a walk, which I consider to be an honest-to-God miracle cure for the following, by no means comprehensive, list of ailments: depression, headache, joint pain, hangover, grogginess, weight gain, anxiety, stomach trouble, and bad skin.

Walking imparts moments of zen.

Every single outing has one, and when it arrives, it’s unmistakable: a blue heron standing in the bayou, the sun’s rays through a tree, a gust of wind rustling a patch of bluebonnets, a possible bald eagle sighting (yes, we have them), the swollen bayou rising over a piece of Bart Simpson graffiti, so that he’s peeking at you from above the water… Observing the city while walking, you notice things—then you borrow from The Daily Show, throw up your hands theatrically, and announce, “And now, here it is!” Wait, you don’t do this?

Walking solves your—and the world’s—problems.

Having trouble with a coworker? In a fight with your mom? Wondering what to cook this week, what color curtains to get, what to do about global warming, what Robert Mueller’s latest move means? Planning a birthday party? A conference? An intervention? It all seems overwhelming, until you’re on a walk, talking—or thinking—it out, and suddenly, everything becomes crystal-clear.

Walking in Houston, city of cars that casts a famously wary eye to pedestrians, is actually awesome, if you know where to go, which you do, or will soon, because you are holding this magazine. Just avoid freeways, if possible. And also, streets.

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