I have been having a difficult week in my own mind. The INNER CRITIC has been screaming loudly, telling me that I am wasting my time. The GREEN EYED MONSTER has been popping up, as I compare myself to other’s even though I know I shouldn’t. QUEEN SELF-DOUBT has made loud pronouncements, trying to banish Queen Esther before she could even make her voice heard. LORD LONELINESS laughed at me as he partied with his friends.
I sought solace and solutions away from the written word. I went for walks. On Wednesday, I took myself to the nearby botanical garden, hoping to find inspiration in the flowers of the greenhouse. I was greeted by a woman who said, “You look like you are ready for a day of stress relief and beauty. Enjoy! But first, feel this.” (She hands me a bud that fell from the pussy willows decorating her desk). Her smile and encouraging talk began to break through my shell. Wearing my “butt shoes” (my sneakers that are supposed to help with getting in shape) instead of boots I found myself crunching through snow to wander paths I thought would be closed. Yesterday, as the temperature soared into the 60s and the snow disappeared, I walked against the brisk winds down my street, listening only to the beat of my feet and the songs of the birds. I didn’t bring my camera. I didn’t bring my music. And in the silence of being alone, I rediscovered something along the way.
The following is what I discovered.
Greeted by pussy willows.
Touch a whisper of softness
like a baby’s blanket
floating in air.
Being alone does not have to be lonely.
The crunch of my feet in the snow.
Bird song, at least three different types, though the birds remain hidden.
I breathe deeply of the fresh air, the breeze sending a scented message of spring.
It is not cold, despite the snow.
The wind fills me with the potential of life.
I wish I could paint the scents in the air, and fill my words with pictures.
The true beauty and power of life can be found in the tiniest of details. It is not about the grand moments or grand gestures, but finding joy in the finite details and tiny miracles that surround us.
I walk away from the computer and the grading and the pressure to accomplish.
I walk away from the frustration of words, of not finding the ones that work, or having too much to say.
I walk away from the house, and the dishes, and the dogs begging for attention.
I open the door and walk down the steps, without music, or camera or notebook or phone.
I walk and my feet take on the rhythm of the road.
I feel my legs stretch, and I push myself into the joy of the movement.
I walk for my health.
I walk for myself.
The sun feels warm and bright and happy.
The breeze is strong, and pushes against me, but I walk stronger.
The wind howls through the trees, yet I am in a brief space of calm.
I walk by the grandfather and grandson clearing the yard.
“How are you?” he asks.
“I’m great!” I say, and I surprise myself because I mean it.
I walk by the grandmother and granddaughter walking a frisky puppy.
“He’ll jump on you,” she says.
“That’s OK,” I reply, and I smile.
I smile, and I smile, and I smile.
I walk and my smile grows, although nobody is there.
I walk away from the worry and rediscover