Category Archives: Meditations/Liturgies

Liturgy meditations

Getting outside–whatever it takes

The backstory of why Easy Walks

This blog and my books often make note of my challenges in getting outside. (Total paralysis on my right side from life-saving brain surgery that has partially resolved.) Many of you have your own reasons for seeking out Easy Walks. So… what has made the difference in helping me get outside safely? Family, yes. Friends, yes. People who are willing to drive me to far-flung destinations, yes. However, learning how to best use physical supports to aid me in walking outdoors has been a more challenging quest. Tools I have found useful have varied as my body has healed and become capable of doing more on my own.

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Fancy canes and other help come in many sizes

Not a fancy cane, but hiking poles, yet another tool helping me get outdoors

This essay is included in My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming Hope in a World Turned Upside Down

When I returned home from the hospital after brain surgery in 1993, I did a great deal of sitting. Getting across a room was an effort; reaching the other end of the house to use the bathroom was a major undertaking. I spent a lot of time observing my healthy, active children and visiting with neighbors from my cushioned rocker in our living room.

By my side, ready at a minute’s notice, was the cane I had brought home from the hospital. Ugly stainless steel, four little feet at its base to provide better balance, this cane remained standing even when I could not.

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Watching–a childhood memory

1965 The wall in our yard in Plantation, FL

One of the essays in my memoir, My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down recalls a childhood game we played in the midst of one Florida summer. My siblings, friends and I gathered each night in the South Florida heat, shut our eyes tight and spun in circles. One person sat out the game, perched on the wall, keeping watch over us. We took turns climbing up onto the wall, assuming the role of watcher. When up on the wall we kept our eyes open, ready to alert anyone wandering near the street or too close to the wall.

Going in circles or zooming down a slide, kids just want to have fun

I recently found a picture of my younger brother sitting on that wall, with my younger sister standing next to him. Sometimes a photo can make the difference in understanding a story…or not. Here’s the essay, just one of many included in the book. Enjoy.


The basic premise of the game, that summer of 1965 in South Florida, was for all of us to shut our eyes and turn around in circles in our front yard. Our goal was to keep spinning till we grew dizzy. A designated “watcher” sat on the five-foot-high brick wall that jutted a few feet out into my parents’ yard. The watcher’s job was to keep their eyes open and warn spinning children if they drew too close to the wall, or ventured near the street.

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Creating Order in a Time of Chaos

A clean kitchen windowsill that holds beloved keepsakes

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Years ago I was living in a house with constant construction upheaval. The house was a “fixer-upper” and when we moved in I had little idea what that would mean. The tasks required to make the house stable and functional were endless. Clearing the mess and dust felt overwhelming so most cleaning was left undone. It was only when the marriage ended and construction ceased that I felt in my bones how hard it had been to live with constant upheaval.  

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Hiking with a disability

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Wooded, leaf covered trail with stone walls alongside the path
Knowing what trail surfaces you might encounter can make a difference in whether you feel you can visit an area or not.
Handicapped access sign in a wooded area
A handicapped accessibility designation can be helpful, but can also be misleading. This location had tree roots that made wheelchair access limited. Knowing such details can make the difference in each person’s decision whether to visit a specific area or not

This article was first published at the Travel Massive website. Many thanks to their editors for providing a platform for travel interests of all kinds, around the world.

Wooden bridge over the Colorado river, with mountains in the background
Knowing about bridges with railings is a big plus for those with balance issues. “Know before you go” is so helpful

Lots of trail guides and magazine articles provide information about the compelling reasons to visit any certain area. What is consistently missing is information about trail surfaces. Whether you have a disability or simply enjoy the outdoors you can be make a difference to others by noticing and then sharing with others details that are included in the article below.

My Story of Hiking with Mobility Challenges

author using hiking poles to safely ascend an outdoor area with steps
Mobility challenges do not keep people home. Lack of information and/or support makes getting outside more difficult

Travel Massive article:

Some people think that because I have written a number of trail guides I must be a super hiker. In fact, there was a time in my life when walking across a room was an insurmountable challenge. While healing has come after disastrous brain surgery that saved my life yet left my right side paralyzed, I still require support to navigate uneven surfaces: bumpy sidewalks, crowded airport terminals, or rooty or rocky outdoor spaces.

One of the most important factors that dictate whether I can safely manage an outing is asking about an area ahead of time. To safely navigate an outdoor trail, I need to know about trail surfaces Easy Walks, that is, not too many roots or rocks, relatively level, with something of interest along the way.

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Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionEasy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down.


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When a Road Ends

large orange "bike path closed" sign on a chain link fence
We all face roadblocks–it’s where we go from here that can make all the difference

Thoughts while walking

While out walking, do you find yourself thinking about things that have absolutely nothing to do with your surroundings? I know I do. Pairs of walkers passing by chat about all sorts of things—family, friends, work, etc. Other solitary walkers stride along, their thoughts unknown to passersby.

When I get outside my thoughts often stray to unsettling situations. Somehow the quiet, the beauty all around me opens a door to places I tend to avoid thinking about. However, I also have had instances when these times of quiet have helped me make sense of confounding situations.

If you will, take a walk with me. My hope is that in hearing a little of my own story it might help you make sense of something in your own life.

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Echoes in the Grand Canyon

Sunlight illuminates the Grand Canyon

In my growing up years I felt keenly the absence of my grampy, my dad’s father, Glen Kuhl, who had died before I was born. This sense of loss may have been reinforced by my mother, who never stopped mourning the loss of this man who had been as a father to her.

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Letting Go

So simple–Just let go

Advice is often handed out like candy–“Just let go, and have a nice day.” Why some think it’s simple is beyond me. Letting go has never been that easy in my own life, for sure! One day I finally began to grasp what was wrong with this advice, or at least, what was missing. Here’s the story: (an excerpt from My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Finding the Sacred in Everyday (and some very strange) Places.

Well-intentioned people offer varied strategies intended to short-circuit the difficult process of “letting go,” whether it be of worries, pain, hurt, relationships, the past in general, or even prolonged grieving. The list of life challenges is endless, and suggestions for how to cope are endless too, yet have been useless in my own experience. I have learned that letting go is something that happens on its own time schedule, not because of trying harder.

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Transforming trash to treasure

Our family has a story that has been passed down through the generations. The tale, in My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down. describes an encounter my grandfather had with a farmer in Quebec. The farmer had a chicken coop. My grandfather visited the farm, and realized that one side of the chicken coop was constructed from a cherrywood table. As you might expect, the table was in rough shape, sharing company with a number of chickens.

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Women’s work-sign your work Anonymous needlepoint

I had meant to clean my dusty needlepoint doorstop and finally got around to pulling out the lint remover, which allowed the intricate needlework to be on display once more on our small doorstop. (I have a very uneven house–doorstops are essential or the door won’t stay open!) Once I started handling the doorstop to clean it, I wondered if there might be any initials on it. I knew the doorstop had come from my grandmother Marjorie’s (my namesake) house, and was brought to my parent’s house after my grandmother’s death, then moved to my house after my grandmother’s death. Once all dusted off, I looked closely, but found no initials.

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