"Someday's gonna be a busy day..."

Monday, 17 March 2014

A walk in the woods

Today I walk by myself.

The cold is glorious; the sun is bright. The woods beckon, and I am so happy to be on the trails for an hour of solitude that I want to shout and dance. The labyrinth is covered in a duvet of snow and I feel like a giant when I notice that the packed snow on the trail has lifted me up to the level of the aspen branches.

Cardinals whistle and chickadees swoop, sure signs of the new season ahead. The river has cracked open and sings a joyful song before it dives beneath the crusty ice. I run my hand over the rough bark of an elm, scrunch fragrant cedar between my fingers. Strange dogs stop to nuzzle me as red-cheeked owners nod or smile before they whistle their companions back to obedience.

The snow sparkles and dances, drifts down from tree branches in puffs and clouds that twirl lazily in the sunlight. My boots plunge steady and sure into ankle deep powder. I take the looping trail past the gnarled oak with the face of a praying mantis and head for the second bridge.

Just around the curve before the darkness of cedars swallows up the trail, I see a young couple. They have stopped to adjust their young son's scarf and hat. We exchange hellos and as I pass, I am hit by a wave of sadness. I meet the brown-haired mother's eyes for a moment and it's as though I've been pricked in the heart with something sharp and cold. I cover my surprise with a nod and keep walking.

I am not psychic; I'm not even all that intuitive. I don't know what has pierced my soul in that moment. Maybe nothing. Maybe imagination.

But maybe not.

As I pass out of earshot, I close my eyes for a second, mutter a quick prayer to the trees and the snow and the sun and the birds, asking for healing, for a lightening of the burden of hurt the family seems to carry like boulders on their backs. Because we all carry our own invisible stones of sadness; sometimes in our pockets where they weigh us down, or in our shoes where they punish us with each step, or inside our heads where they rattle around for only us to hear.

I think we can drop the stones one at a time on the paths we walk; I think the best way to relieve our burdens is get outside, and keep walking.


Ordinary J said...

I also enjoy walking by myself everyday. I just came back from my walk on the beach and I stumbled upon your post. What a co-incidence.

Kimber said...

Hi OJ. Thanks for visiting Someday! I can't wait to walk the beach again once the snow and ice have finally receded. Come back again soon!

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written. For some reason, it is hitting home with me. Maybe I have too many little stones moving about in my head, or in my pockets and shoes. I try, everyday, to let them go, one by one. It's a work in progress :)
Your walks sound lovely. One the very rare occasions that I miss small town life, it because I miss walking in the woods.

Ordinary J said...

I'm here to read the post a second time because it's just too beautifully written and poetic:) I hadn't seen anyone who can write like you in English, except for the professional writers. I really love this blog post of yours, there is the beauty in the snow country and in the middle of it there is the reflects of the little triumph and tragic of live itself, the sadness and the happiness. Brilliant! Wish I could have your sharp observation.

Anonymous said...

Praying Mantis ?

I see boobs.

bang, now we're sad, why are we sad?

tanzi said...

Wow. This is one of your most striking posts--for me, anyway. Partly b/c I identify with the magic and awareness a solitary walk in nature brings and partly due to your ability to beautifully capture the experiences in words. And then the sadness. So poignant.

Sissy Mylrea said...

I ditto Tanzi's comment. I' not going to even try to say much. Your lovely piece has left me speechless. Loved it. X love. Sissy

Kimber said...

Thank you my sisters. Mwah!