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I try to take a walk every day now that I’m retired. It gives me a chance to think about a character, plot, or an idea for a story away from the keyboard. I just hope people don’t notice me talking to myself as I walk.

Hikes have taken on a new meaning with red-tailed hawks, blue herons, and the bald eagle returning to Northeast Ohio. I’ve seen an eagle in Brecksville and last week saw one of a pair in the Big Bend park. It was either Summit or Valley Girl who have a nest on the former Valley View golf course.

This might not seem like a big deal to those who have always had eagles and large birds in their states, but Ohio is known for the “burning river,” and I remember seeing huge piles of soap foam floating down the Cuyahoga River as well as waste water and trash being dumped into the water. It has taken years but the river is recovering, and we’ve removed several dams along the route of the “crooked river” with big changes in the river’s flow.

I’ve been a reporter for 16 years and a writer “in heart” all my life, but I’ve always been able to gather my thoughts and organize a story with a walk in nature. I’ve learned you can’t write non-stop and be healthy. Make time for some exercise, socializing, and other interests besides cranking out the next novel.