Walking

I’ve mentioned that things are a bit shaky chez moi lately, with unanticipated changes and tremors, a brand-new and somewhat startling shakiness to the ground.  Last week I felt tentative and edged my way out into the world only when it was necessary.  Other than one dinner out (a celebration with a few of our dear local friends) I have been staying very close to home.  The truth is I am feeling internal again, quiet, and there are only a few people I feel comfortable being with.

I have been working a lot, writing, reading, sleeping when I can (not that well), and curling up with Grace and Whit.  Cooking random vegetables out of the bin that arrives weekly, making my way through Gail Godwin’s glorious Evensong, working slowly on a couple of essays I have in process.

I’ve also been going for walks in the afternoons.  Whenever I can, when I have breaks between calls, I sneak out, bundle up, pull on a fleece hat and mittens and parka and head down the street.  It’s often late afternoon when I go out, so in particular I have been watching the light change.  In the space of a couple of days it suddenly seemed as though the days were markedly longer.  A movement which had seemed slow, almost imperceptible, like the hour hand creaking around a clock, suddenly jumped and made itself known.

I walk and I watch.  I see the light on the trees, the black nests in bare tree branches, the glowing rough-edged moon in the saturated, still-blue sky.  The unfortunate thing, though, is that I seem to go on every walk with myself.  No matter how far or how fast I walk, I can’t get away from myself.  Sometimes I can still my racing thoughts and heart with the abiding calm of a late afternoon in deep winter, but most of the time I can’t. I’m right there with myself.  As it were.

And still, not really knowing what else to do, I keep walking.  Looking up, looking down, noticing things every step of the way, often feeling waves of wonder.  Realizing that no matter what, I can’t outrun myself.  Even as the world turns towards light again, I am, in ways big and small, turning inward.  Who knows how long this will last, this phase of inwardness, this time of late-afternoon walks, this season of anxiousness and waiting, of patience and fear.  I can’t know how long.  So I just keep walking.

 


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10 Comments

  1. Posted February 6, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    I’ve suddenly noticed the change of light, too. I, too, walk when I am at a loss for what else to do. And yes, “wherever you go there you are,” for better or worse! Winter is a wonderful time to go inside oneself.

  2. Posted February 6, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    feeling the desire for inner-landscape retreat also. wishing you ease as you walk with yourself during this shaky time. and sending my love as a companion for you on the journey. xo

  3. Tracy
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Love this. I am a “dusk walker” too, trying to get my dog out before the last light every day. Feb. is actually the single month of the year when we gain back the most light, both in the morning and the evening, so yes, every day it’s a little different. It’s good to make time in the busy day to notice it, as you say.

  4. Posted February 6, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Lindsey,
    I can so relate to what you’ve written here, though I feel like I’m standing at a counterpoint to where you are.

    I was just thinking last night how much I am craving slowness. Everything in my life these days is rushed. I rush through meals, chores, work, errands, showers, even my “down time” feels harried and hurried. I feel such a deep need to slow down that it almost hurts. If I could only step off the racetrack and take my time with things, maybe I would feel them more fully, find my feet more firmly under me …

    Most days, I manage to fit in one walk – right after I drop my daughter at school. It’s a great way to start my day, but it’s not about giving myself time to turn inward (something that I think is so important – especially for writers) … it’s about jump starting my day with movement and often listening to another writer’s work via my trusty Audible app on my iPhone. Those walks do, however, give me a little space in which to notice things. Walking the same path each day, I see tiny changes in the plants, houses, even people. Being able to observe (and sometimes document via photographs) those small evolutions helps me to slow down in my mind, even if not in my actions.

    Anyway – just wanted to say what a lovely post this was. I really enjoyed reading it … and slowing down, even just for a moment.

  5. Posted February 6, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been turning inward lately, too, and noticing the light. Keep walking. (And oh, how I love Evensong.)

  6. Margaret
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Lindsey, I sense you are going through more than you are able to share right now with your readers, and I hope you and your loved ones are healthy. You are in my prayers as you go through this journey feeling alone, or feeling burdened with your own presence, if that’s any different. I have been extremely (and atypically) inward myself over the past several months, so I understand the need – need is not the word – the powerful inability to turn outward again – until it’s time, which I know will make itself evident. Until then, I’m trying to embrace the solitude, the chunks of time spent alone working on things that I must work on (including career “stuff”, which can be extremely time-consuming). Also finding comfort in my children and family when I’m not feeling so distracted by these powerful urges to be alone. I am also depending on the closest of friends, even while I don’t have much time for them right now, who always show me sensitive and unconditional love and support. You are so blessed Lindsey, take things one day at a time and let the light be your guide back to a firmer foundation.

  7. Posted February 6, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Dear Lindsey,

    It sounds as if you might be in the “muddy middle”, as I think of it.

    If that’s true, then you are doing what needs to be done. You are walking through it, which is the only way out, that I know of, at least.

    Know that you are not walking alone. Ever.

    Love to you, and thanks.

    XOXO

  8. Posted February 6, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Sending hugs your way. So true that we all need them always but seems like you might need an extra one or two these days.

  9. Posted February 6, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Recently I also noticed the length of the days, the startling realization that my commute home was in the light. I feel a similar tug to pull inward but I must move foward. I cannot remain where I am although there are days when my anxiety seems to suck me in like a tornado with everything in its path. But I focus forward. It’s the only thingI can do.

  10. Posted February 6, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Wishing you warmth and blessings on your walks, be they through some dark night of the soul in which it’s always 3am or through some alchemical transfiguration coaxed along by the waxing of the light.