This time of year, walking gets a little harder. The deep snow has melted and frozen over again and again, so that there is ice everywhere and loose damp snow alongside it. Every step is a gamble. This is when I walk mostly on the road, which is a little sad. The sandy gravel that the plows drop every time it snows consequently gets pushed to the sides of the road, and it blends with the leaf litter to form a thick amalgam of washed out brown-gray dotted with litter that people throw from their cars. This litter is generally beer cans or wine bottles mixed with cigarette packs and fast food detritus. I mean, this is sad stuff.
When I need to walk more than a mile and really stretch my legs, I walk up the mountain. In the warmer weather, I drive up there to walk in the preserve at the top. In the winter, the highest point of the road is closed and left unplowed so that traffic dwindles. As I walk up that road, it’s mainly just me, and a few quiet houses until I get to the spot where the plowing stops, and I climb a big mountain of ice to continue walking in the snow. It’s still pretty cold up there, so the snow is still deep and firm, and a few humans and other animals have made a rough trail to the top. There are deer tracks and coyote tracks along with boot prints. Suddenly it’s so quiet, no more houses, nothing but snow and trees bending in the cold wind.
I remember the first time I walked up the mountain, it seemed to take so long, but it’s really only 45 minutes from my house to the top. It’s about four miles round trip. That got me to thinking about how when you go somewhere new it always seems to take so long to get to where you are going. When you know how long it takes, that is you’ve been there before, it rushes by. Or at least you know exactly when you’ll get there. Sometimes when I go to a new place, it takes forever to get there, but the walk back is so quick! Likewise, I’ve been thinking how this can be applied to our lives right now. How we’ve never been here before in this strange pandemic world, and it’s taking so long! Where the heck are we? Are we there yet?
Planting myself firmly in how the seasons change always helps to provide me with perspective. Walking might be dull and gray, but I can see where I am–right in March–and where I am going—due April. It aligns me securely, when so little feels secure. Even as the climate steadily changes, I do know for the time being that the leaves will soon unfurl, and all this gray and garbage on the side of the roads will eventually wash away and be replaced with green. The trip may feel long, but I’ve been there before, and I know I’ll get there soon.
Notes: No notes this week! Don’t we all have so much to read? So many links!! It’s exhausting. Instead, why not stare out the window for ten minutes?