There is a riot of color right now along the familiar walkways in Portland.

If you are near the water, the vista is of ultramarine blue. Trees bursting with new growth are dressed in springtime colors of pale green, frosty white, pink and lemon yellow.

Today, with the water as smooth as a glistening sheet of glass on the Back Cove, I saw a small white egret hanging out at the shoreline with some brown ducks. Grey herons can be spotted on the cove, along with numerous other wildlife.

The broad, well-kept path around the cove is delightful, and the sun warms your face and back as you walk. The signs showing the distance you have walked on the cove are helpful.

It all depends on what you are in the mood for when selecting a place to walk. If you want to be close to the ocean, then the Eastern Promenade is an excellent choice.

There, you may choose to walk close to the water and see the boats docked up close, or you may climb to the walkways above, with the benefit of magnificent views of the ocean. The East End Beach is alive with activity. The hardy are already there enjoying the water.

The sprawling parks in the city provide an interesting place to stroll while enjoying the shade provided by the trees. On a recent Sunday I walked through Deering Oaks Park and heard the wind whistle through the high branches.

I enjoy walking in my neighborhood, too. While there is a bit of stop-and-start to it as you cross streets, the benefit is that you can see what is growing in gardens along the way.

It is at this time that you wish you had your camera with you. Flowering trees droop magnificently with their heavy load of color. Brilliantly colored flowers push through the rich soil in which they are planted. I have noticed the beds of tulips in Oakdale Park are giving way to their annual flamboyant show.

The best part of walking for exercise is that, except for the cost of good walking shoes, it is free and available anywhere you live. You can do it any time of the day and into the evening.

Even though there are days that I bargain with myself about exercise, I never regret it afterwards. There is something about breathing the fresh air and seeing the sights that gives you an improved outlook on life.

I tend to favor a daytime walk, because it is livelier and more interesting. There is the bustle of activity and the conviviality of sharing the path with others.

Some of my most tranquil walks, however, are in the evening, when lights are just coming on in the homes along the way. I like to guess what everyone is cooking for dinner, as the aroma of something delicious floats over the neighborhood. It’s a fitting finale to a day in Maine.


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