Saturday, January 31, 2015

A few feet in front of us

All of us walk in the dark. Our eyes adjust to the light around us, or lack of, and we manage to stay upright for more steps than we stumble. But we see nothing fully or completely. Perhaps the false success of rarely falling down misleads us into thinking that even our tumbles have merit.

Much of this week's walking has taken me on a section of road under construction. Perhaps this path has been dangerous. And under other circumstances, many of my phobias would converge to block me from this direction. However, I cannot help but be drawn here, only able to see a few feet in front of me, but so enjoying those feet as I chase a sunset or new perspective on old roads.

5:30 in the morning
and the only lit places
are an alley
and Your dark bridge
I usually love the smell of walking, and the pictures of what those fragrances may mean. I've caught the scent of grills in the winter and imagined a man pretending to resent his role in the family's dinner preparation, but secretly thrilled by the sound of small flames on hamburger or chicken and the solitude outside his door. Often a whiff of fabric softener as I pass by a house with one light on makes me think of a tired mother doing all the work to get those who sleep through their day.

Preferring to be unseen, I sometimes walk behind a section of strip of shops. On the human side is a Pizza Hut, a doughnut shop, a hair and nail salon, and other businesses which come and go. On the return leg of one walk, several feet before I could get to the back of buildings, I could smell the strong odor of cigarette smoke from the delivery men who unloading a truck. And the closer I came the more the alley felt like a tunnel, funneling that that smoke, concentrating it toward me. So I altered the route, and passed in front, where kolaches tried to seduce me.

Even in solitude, even before light, there are distractions. And everything is an obstacle for someone. We see where our eyes are pointed. I wonder if we take enough in.

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