Thursday, August 22, 2013

In the dry wind

People at my house are sleeping late still, just a few days before the school year begins. With so many mental chores to sort out, I decide to walk toward the old neighborhood, before the sun is preheated to the temperature it will be baking the earth later. 
I must look silly to these people, a fat old man moving slowly with a stick in one hand and an iPad in the other, wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt that sometimes rides up. I'm trying not to care as I make my way down the road listening: at first to birds above me near the house, them then trucks rushing past me as if they have some place to go, and later to the crunch of gravel beneath my feet. 

Melodies played by Marion McPartland, whom I had been listening to as I worked, waft in my mind. Prayers I don't know if I am saying or thinking mix in. I admire the brightness of sunflowers, and ponder my fears.
imagining snakes
until the dry wind reveals 
blades of grass clacking

Monday, August 5, 2013


spent a week in the "country," house sitting for my brother's family. It was to be a kind of working vacation, since I still had an online class to teach, and there were a handful of very easy chores to do, mostly involving their dogs and cats. After barbecuing for a couple days, I joked that I was on a grill-cation. Because I slept in and napped a lot, some referred to my trip as a rest-cation. 

But when people asked me what I did, I tell them I mostly walked. Taking a slightly different route each time, I slowly strolled up and down the blacktop roads near my brother's house, tapping my progress on the ground with a walking stick presented to me by my daughter and her boyfriend just before we left, usually with a couple of dogs somewhat following.

Traveling slowly, I am sure the sweat that I accumulated came more from heat and humidity than exertion. I only brought my iPad once, to take pictures, and I never noted how far I went or how long it took before I had returned. I just went.

lone honeysuckle
high in a hot tree holding
dry, heaven-toward vines

Most of my walks were in conjunction with mediation, usually of a verse or idea from Scripture.
Usually my mind wandered. I could not stop that, but I did notice it easier to push away thoughts of anger and resentment which often burden my brief excursions. I also noticed I was not as afraid of snakes and other critters as I typically am when traveling a greater distance than from my front door to the car door.

I did a good deal of reading on this vacation, and quite a bit more writing than usual. Walking has always come not only with more writing, but usually better writing. I thought of how obvious this is for me, and how often I have forgotten it. I wondered about how I might continue regular walking when my time at my brother's was over.

Though I cannot say I left anxiety behind, I can say I brought less home with me, and though walking has been painful for me lately, I finished the vacation with a stronger back, and I hope a stronger will and faith.

thin raindrops gliding
feathery sunlight landing
green hills and clear paths