Every day I walk the dogs on our road. It’s 4 miles that I divide into 4 parts: uphill, flat, return flat, and downhill.
The first mile is uphill hard work. It’s a bitch. I hate having to face it, but it helps me the most– keeping me in shape, challenging me to move through resistance, and overcoming obstacles. I stay focused on the road directly in front of me, and this perspective helps to divert my attention from the daunting unending mile ahead. Every day I don’t want to do it, so much so that it almost deters me from starting the walk. And every day, as I near the top of the hill, I am grateful for having done it. I’m grateful that I still can do it.
The next mile is flat and easy. It’s almost too easy. After the almost unbearable uphill battle, this flat expanse turns out to be a bit boring, and I find myself tuning out the routine scenery. My mind is free now to obsess about work and kids and bills. I suggest to myself to notice the trees and sky and just as quickly tell myself to shut up. I remind myself to stand straight, instead of slouching. Bored and restless, I focus on the turnaround spot.
The next mile, I finally relax. I reach the end of the road and take a big stretch. I am heading home, so the pressure to walk is removed. I find myself looking around more, enjoying nature, smelling the air a bit more, feeling the wind upon my face. If I am listening to music, I might even take a few pictures on the phone. As much as I wanted to turn around, I now find myself slowing down. The dogs come ’round and are happy, tails wagging. I might pick up a stick and wave it in the air. As I walk, my arms swing out a bit more, side to side.
The final mile is a bit agitating again. Although less challenging, it seems more difficult to walk downhill, due to the ease. It lures me into thinking I can move quickly. I find myself curbing a tendency to start jogging in the uneven, rocky dirt road. By this time, I just want to be done walking. I just want to be sitting on my couch and eating. Or, I’m feeling so good that I’m regretting the walk being over, yet somehow am not willing to continue.
* * *
There is a point in the daily walk when all the rules are broken. I have almost reached the downhill part. I’ve walked most of my walk. There is nothing to prove and nothing to lose. It’s almost over, and I suddenly don’t want it to be. I want to take the time to be right where I am. I am all alone. There is a beautiful meadow, and I walk into it. I am playful, slower. I look up, around, and begin noticing everything: the trees, the pond, the clouds, the dogs, the birds, and the light. I stand and then swirl around, a silly young child. I giggle and no one notices.
I begin to see hearts everywhere. It’s my thing– hearts. Seeing them everywhere. My way of god-talking.
Maybe I’ll listen to music and sing at the top of my lungs. I belt it out– loud chick sopranos, diva best. Six Pence the Richer, song 10, Love~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTdyNWnq7bA
“The Harvester is near
His blade is on your skin.
To plant a new beginning.”
Well then, let the cut begin.
Loud wailing spirit bursting, lots of fun and dreamy dancing. In the snow, I collapse into the soft wet slush and let the dogs rally round, licking, pawing, making sure I’m okay and then waiting for me to get back up. Love has 4 letters. Walk has 4 letters. The walk has 4 parts and in the song, there is a a part where she wails out 4 times, this symphonic humpback-whale guttural birthing crescendo. The 4s do not escape me; I feel their meaning.
Then it is swiftly over, and I look around. I notice that I’m a bit cold and wet. The dogs are nowhere in sight, or they are sitting there patiently, as I wailed and leaped about the meadow.
I begin my careful descent down the hill, down the last mile. I have somehow managed to do it. I am so grateful for it to be over and know that I’ll be doing it again, tomorrow.
* * *
Every day. Walk the walk.