I have been walking a lot these past couple weeks. My new workplace is a stone’s throw from home; I can get there in 12 minutes flat. Oliver’s daycare is 30 minutes from home; a robust, hour-long round trip. Nic and I rose this past weekend first thing and headed out into nature.
Yesterday, I walked with a friend. We passed a high school track team, training for the season. She recalled her days of sprinting, back in high school herself. “Holy shit, you were fast!” I exclaimed. “Do you still run?” “Do you miss it?”
“Nah. I walk. This feels good to me. This, I can make sense of.”
I have walked for comfort and joy as long as I can remember. The gravel road where I grew up, teeming with summer grasshoppers. A constant navigation, trying to predict the direction the wings were facing, which way their body would go hurling through the dusty air. The crunch of leaves under my feet in the timber, when I wanted nothing more than their cooperation — their silence, so that I could spot a deer — or seven.
I was walking last week when suddenly, I felt my hair move. A cherry blossom tree with the perfect height to completely crowd me with its scent. I stopped and stood, letting Bela turn to wonder why our trajectory had slowed. I shut my eyes, and reveled in the fact that my head was quite literally in a tree. The smell. The feeling of flowers all around my eyes. I opened them. It was white.
I went to Costa Rica in college with a couple friends. They had a nice trip planned, and I decided I’d figure out a way to tag along. They were worried, you could tell. They had a bunch of rules/suggestions for me, that they needed me to follow. (I had never traveled before.) Kept telling me not to forget my passport, how to pack, etc. etc. I didn’t hear a word, after they told me one of the places on the itinerary: a cloud forest.
A CLOUD FOREST??
(I did forget my passport, by the way. In a little place we stayed overnight. I realized I forgot it, of course, after we had crossed a volcano, jeep-boat-jeep. We had to wait an entire extra day, while a man I paid went back across the volcano again, jeep. boat. jeep.)
Putting two feet in front of each other, on any patch of the earth, keeps me closer to the earth. The earth under my feet and the earth above my eyes. It is as much a grounding as it is a flight. How very lucky I am, how very lucky I have been. I have walked in the flowers. I have walked in the clouds.