walk on…

It’s warming up again around here. The kiddo and I have been doing a lot of walking, examining the drain system on the streets and hanging out on corner wood stumps. Our favorite walking path, the one where she stops and sets up a faux campfire along the way, is still too muddy for investigation.

She’s quite a walker, capable of two miles on foot, though she’ll consent to the stroller when we go on further treks into the town’s center for hot chocolate and a cookie. I love the scents in the air now. Earth. Rain. Pine. Did you know that when the pine scent is strong in the spring, that means the sap is running in the maple taps? Babci passed that along Sunday on our walk around the neighborhood. I think it was their first stroll around here.

Our library was closed for two weeks while they moved into a new, though temporary, location. Since I’ve had the kiddo, my reading has been mostly episodic. It’s difficult to follow a novel with so many interruptions. Poetry and essays fit the situation perfectly. Right now I’m reading Thoreau’s personal journals and a collection of Emily Dickinson’s poetry. I’ve kind of avoided her for kind of stupid reasons. I just can’t stomach anything from that age. I read it, and I feel a sneeze coming on. Stifled. But there are things about Emily’s poetry, mostly the form, that I like… the spare simplicity, the spirituality and connection to nature and its processes. But, um, so far, I’m most struck by how much attention she pays to death. I don’t know what to make of it, honestly. I’ve not gotten very far though. I’ll be patient.

One book that’s escaped me that’s on my list is A Walk in The Woods: Rediscovering American on the Appalachian Trail, by Bill Bryson. I’m terribly curious about the trail after reading one person’s account of it in a short essay. It’s not something I think I’ll do, at least, not the entire trail; not with the kiddo in my life. But I think there is something about walking or biking, being outside and not in a moving box, that connects us powerfully to our environment. Sometimes sight is overrated. I haven’t owned a car since 1989, though I do drive now that I have the kiddo when I need to. I’ve been fortunate enough to live in places where I didn’t need a car. To get to work, I simply walked, or, as was the case when I worked at Yankee Candle, some 9 miles away from where I lived at the time, I biked. It gave me some quiet time, and the roads were generally quiet. I loved the very early morning especially, when I got out of work and had the chance to note the sun rising. To see the sun is one thing, to feel its warmth building on its way to morning is another. I think the line in the movie Crash about cars isolating us had a point.

I found this cool collection of photography at Gutter Envy via Art for Housewives. These are beautiful and sad still lifes of detritus along city streets. It really struck a cord for me…one of my preoccupations while living in Manhattan was, um, trash. I couldn’t walk down the street without heaving, it affected me so. Anyway, check ’em out.

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2 Responses to “walk on…”


  1. 1 Shana March 29, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    One late night, I stood before Emily Dickinson’s grave and witnessed the longest shooting star arc over and across the stone. I took it as a sign – Many of us humans have the tendency to place more meaning on events than they perhaps warrant, but I’m glad, because it makes for special and memorable moments in a life. And even though our science has explained away the “shooting star”, there is still something magical about seeing a meteor fall. And Emily Dickinson always had an odd hold on me. I had to memorize one of her poems when I was seventeen-A time when I was quite solitary and pondering life and death. So of course, this particular metoer falling in this particular place was even more meaningful in my confusing young adult life.

  2. 2 petitmuse April 2, 2007 at 7:52 pm

    “Many of us humans have the tendency to place more meaning on events than they perhaps warrant, but I’m glad, because it makes for special and memorable moments in a life.”

    -that’s where art comes from…and where would we be without all of that? stars will always be mystical to me.


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