Midwinter Nights Walk

It was probably close to 50F when I left Jessica’s house a few hours ago intending to come home and possibly read or knit. The walk from Jessica’s to the house I’m staying is short enough that I almost do not have to experience the weather before I am back inside. Thankfully a light breeze caressed my cheek just halfway home and I took the gesture as an invitation to take a walk. In addition to the nearly warm night air, my tummy was very full from some delicious, spicy dish I had just eaten at Jessica’s.
Add to that a head full of questions, prayers and thoughts, and you have the perfect ingredients for a very good, long walk….

The wind was friendly and playful and there is something so very clean about Pacific Northwest air. It seemed to encourage me and refresh me much like a cool glass of water would after strenuous work. I don’t say this to make my words more flowery but because I felt it to be so true and I can only seem to describe one thing by comparing it to another.

The air was my counselor. Occasionally I would stop in my walking to gaze longer at something- evergreen trees swaying high, high above me- black silhouetted against a blue black sky. Waving hello or maybe simply enjoying their own private dance. I stopped often to study the effects different porch lights and street lights had on the objects they illuminated- I especially like to do this at a vantage point which blocks the actual glaring bulb and reveals all of the shadows and highlights involved. All of the yellows and greens and blacks- sometimes glamorous and sometimes ominous.

I talked to God about things and cried a few times. I hid from cars a few times. Once I hid standing against a tree and had the feeling that all of the surrounding trees were witnessing and participating in my covert evening stroll. I stood under one such tall, old witness and marveled at the feeling of protection and comfort it gave. One errant branch hung much lower than the rest, almost the lazy one, bobbing back and forth with the breeze, teasing me a little for my personal anthropomorphizing melodrama.

But I have long done this silly thing of attributing human emotions and motivations to inanimate objects or animals.  It neither worries me that I make this up in my head, nor does it kill the meaning infused by the fantasy. It allows the wind to counsel me and the trees to comfort at times when they are the only physical beings around.

There were, in fact, poems writing themselves up and down every tree and and path as I walked along. Poems of love and loss and hope and pain. Poems of brave knights and wild maidens and their limitless inner worlds. Poems written by dirtied hands, made so on the cold, wet forest floor of the Cascade Mountains- hands that climbed over rocks and fallen trees in earnest search of the illusive trail ahead. Poems of that trail which delights and disappoints and entices, soothes and laughs us forward and breaks our hearts.

I guess I’m saying that it was a really good walk. One I’d like to hold in my pocket when I return to  the dry and cold and sunny Colorado.

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