Friday, May 15, 2015

Inch Sixty-Three: Evening Walk

My blogging friend Darla over at Bay Side to Mountain Side  often takes her readers on walks through her neighborhoods. She always carries a camera (or else has a more sophisticated phone than I do—trust me, that's a low bar) and so her posts are punctuated with great photos showing you what she is seeing.

I thought about Darla as I walked last night. I don't carry a camera or iPad or any other device when I walk, so I told myself to pay attention to what I saw so that I could write this post later. Making myself pay attention required me to stay in the moment as I walked, instead of sorting through my schedule, court matters, or other issues. Not a bad way to walk, all in all.

A robin has nested in the ornamental cherry tree in our front flowerbed, about ten steps away from the front door. As soon as I opened the front door and stepped out, she swooped away to a nearby tree to give me time to move out of her area. That was how my walk started.

I tried to pay attention to small things:
  • The spiderwort's deep purple-blue blooms in that same front flowerbed.
  • A clipped lilac hedge with the lilacs in bloom. I stuck my face in the hedge, inhaling the fragrance.
  • Irises blooming in front yards.
  • An old hitching post on a quiet side street.
I walked in the immediate neighborhood, which is full of old, large houses, most built between the late 1800s and the early 1900s. It is a visually soothing streetscape, the house patterns familiar through the tens of thousands of steps I have taken in this town. I walked down the alley I used to live next to, back when Ben and Sam were younger. In the little court of houses behind my former house and the next yard, my friend Patricia was outside with her daughter and husband.

Patricia and I have hardly seen one another all winter and rushed into each other's arms.



I stayed a little while to visit, admiring the new candle fixture on their front porch, sitting in my favorite spot at the kitchen island, catching up with my friend. Then we hugged goodbye and I continued my walk, heading another block and a half before turning back towards home.

Steve and Debbie have just moved (this Tuesday past) into their newly built house, downsizing from their larger estate out in the county. Steve was outside, attached by a leash to a small dog, and I called out birthday greetings (thank you, Facebook) before crossing the street to talk with him. Steve and Brie (the dog) and I ended up walking two blocks together, chatting about lot splits and building restrictions and the city planner. Steve is also a lawyer whose practice has included a lot of zoning law, as did mine when I practiced, so it was a good discussion.

As we went our separate ways, I thought about how far Steve and I have come in a quarter century of knowing one another. Steve is the only lawyer with whom I openly argued in court, with both of us drawing a sharp admonishment from an otherwise congenial judge. It took me a long time to get over our initial introduction, but I eventually came to admire his professional skills and genuinely enjoy him as an individual. When I said "welcome to the neighborhood," I meant it. (And who knew that Steve was such a softie when it comes to Brie?)

I was conscious that I am walking more slowly now than before winter wiped out the frequent walks. Some of that is due to not having my walking legs under me yet, coming off of that long icy layoff. Some of that is what the myeloma or the treatment or both combined continues to extract as a toll from my life. But I'm not racing anybody or anything, especially not the clock, as I walk, and did not dwell on my steps.

By the time I reached home, I was ready to be in. Warren was at a rehearsal and would not be home until later. There was a foil-covered paper plate on the front porch; my youngest brother sent home birthday cake via my parents, who had supper with him and his wife earlier in the evening.

As I turned into our driveway towards the front walk, the robin swooped off the nest, this time flying only as far as the ground under the pine tree.She was back on the nest even before I finished closing the storm door. Apparently she decided one slow walker was not a threat, or else she was tired and wanted to be back home, in for the night.

And that is how my walk ended, tired and back home for the night, one with the robin.


see you there! said...

Enjoyed walking with you! Sometimes it is hard to focus on the walk and leave the rest behind. I find
"reporting" helps. Yes, I use a cell phone for my pictures but you are so good with words. Hope you take us along again in the future.


Laurie said...

Thank you for taking us along on your walk. I did picture it as "we" walked along. I think slower steps do help us notice more of the details... something I aspire to do more often.