Thursday, December 16, 2010
Of all the Jacks Peak trails, of all the routes, that over this past year, I’ve taken, most of which fit into an hour or so, there’s one walk that’s most my walk, one pattern of trails—turn left here and take a right there—that my feet have been drawn to most often. When walking there, I don’t have to think about where I’m going, when to turn, where the hills will be, how long it’ll take. I just put one foot before the other foot, and off we go, three travelers—two strong legs and the rest of me.
That walk has everything: pines and oaks, hills and flat places, sun and shade, views and sheltering trees that make canopies to walk beneath. There are narrow paths and wide lanes, twists, turns and straight-aways. Despite having taken that route many, many times, the walk is never the same walk. At first that surprised me.
Now this walk holds a hosts of memories too. Every time I follow this route, I think “This is where...” And each time, there’s more to add to the “this.” It’s not only what actually occurs on the walks themselves, but who comes too, what we talk about, how it feels to be together, and, when alone, the things I think about, the prayers and poems, where my soul goes.
Yesterday, morning was leaning against afternoon by the time I got out the door. I’d spent a few hours sitting in front of the fire feeling weighed down by a mix of grief and anxiety. My thinking felt sticky. My heart felt leaden.
In the morning’s wee hours, my father-in-law died. That’s the time to die, I think, between one day and the next, the moments of abeyance. When the night gives up its hold but morning hadn’t begun to lift the curtain on the next day.
When I began my Jacks Peak walks and writing these posts, Michael told me, “Nature accepts us as we are.” The woods didn’t ask me to take my sorrow elsewhere. The forest welcomed me home, grief and all.
Posted by Patrice Vecchione at 9:12 AM