by Sylvie Kashdan

I love to jog:
on early summer mornings when the sun is just coming up
and the heat has not yet settled on the city

I love to jog:
on early winter evenings when the sun has just gone down
and the damp, cold ice cloud is closing in on the city

I love to jog:
on days when the sky is clear and blue, the sun is bright
and the high mountains can be seen when I look to the east and the west

I love to jog:
on days when the clouds are thick and low, rain is in the air
and everything looks gray and dull

I love to jog:
in the spring, with the sight and smell of new flowers everywhere,
and the sound of birds in the air

I love to jog:
in the autumn, when bright colored leaves clutter the ground
and the sweet smells of ripening and fermenting are everywhere

I love to jog.

I began life with full sight. From the age of two or three my vision gradually decreased, first in my left eye, and then in my right eye. As a child, I had a lot of usable vision. And I was very active.

Growing up in the 1940s and 1950s in a poor neighborhood in New York City, in those days, no one thought much about letting kids run around the streets unsupervised. And, we were usually pretty safe because we took care of each other. All the children from the same block took care of each other and the older children usually took care of the younger ones. Sometimes there were fights between us, and especially between kids from different blocks or different neighborhoods, and kids did get hurt. But, most of the time things went well.

I used to spend hours running around my neighborhood with the other kids, chasing each other around the block, climbing fences, jumping down long flights of stairs, skating on sidewalks and in the street. I wasn’t really an athlete, and I wasn’t particularly strong, but I was pretty brave and imaginative and wily, so I was basically able to keep up.

As a teenager and adult I channeled my desires for physical activity primarily into dancing, and walking many miles, from one end of New York City to the other, and hiking in the country when I could get a chance. As I lost vision, I didn’t stop. And, I have continued to take long walks in every city I have lived in since leaving New York.

By the beginning of the 1980s all of my vision was lost. Although I continued to walk a lot, I also started eating a lot, especially candy, to calm myself during this difficult time and I gained a lot of weight for the first time in my life—about 20 pounds in a year or so. When I finally started to pull myself together, I went on a diet and decided to increase my aerobic exercise, because I found that walking even two or three miles in one day wasn’t enough to keep my weight down.

Some of my friends were jogging and they suggested that I should jog too. So, I tried it. And, it definitely has helped to keep my weight down, as well as improving circulation and helping me to feel better in general, and more relaxed too. Now I have been jogging for something like 27 years. I run with a partner and we generally run on the streets rather than on a track, because we enjoy the experience of the city. Other than choosing runs on sidewalks in fairly good repair, the only other thing my partner does is stop at curbs so I can find them with my feet. I always try to keep aware of the feel of the ground under my feet too. Luckily, I have a pretty good sense of balance and I am glad to say that I haven’t fallen many times over the years!

We run in the mornings, in the evenings, whenever it fits in with both of our schedules. We even have run in the rain. Only the big wind storms stop us, because we worry about the tree limbs or electrical wires falling. I intend to keep jogging as long as I can. And, when I find that too difficult, I will try my best to keep walking as long as I can and as far as I can…because I love to jog!

The Contact: Sylvie Kashdan