I never used to like to walk.” Why walk when you could drive?” I thought. Life was about time, efficiency, forward movement. So I drove, because it was faster, you tire less, you get more done. I didn’t realize that you see less on the way.
I haven’t been able to be still of late. My health is uneven at best but more stressful than that is the way the most important relationships I’ve tried to cultivate are in flux. They are uneven. They are uncertain. They are hurting. I often get lost in the, what if I’d have said this, and how could I have improved on that. My self-reflexivity and desires to learn and grow with each conflict between myself and my environment leads me to an overly analytical, academic deconstruction of my life. What makes me good at my job makes me a pain in the ass in my own head. Today in particular I’m having an, I’ve earned a day of self destructive crankiness, so I’m going to take it, kind of day. Being that my brain tumor taught me that no one is served by putting crankiness into the world, it has been a bit of a wash as far as a day. So I went for a walk. I decided to move. I’ve been walking a lot lately. Logically it would seem that if you have a headache, rest might help alleviate the pain. If you are feeling sad, sleep it off, perhaps when you wake you will have forgotten. Well, I seemed to be sleeping off a few too many hours and my dreams were more haunting than my reality, so I had to be awake. I found myself restless, unmotivated. Each time waking up feeling dreary and listless but my heart racing. A disconnect between my mind and body, they were at war with one another. My breath gets caught in my throat. I toss and turn, the day time heat reminding me that I shouldn’t be in bed. So I walked. At least when you are walking the racing of your heart may match the cadence of your body. I hate sitting in solidtude, alone with my thoughts. So I walk, and it feels better. Your mind races but so does your body and as you move the mind slows and matches the pace. Each flop of my thong sandals reminding me that I am carrying my body forward.
I stop for an ice tea to relieve me from the heat outside. Each cold sip rejuvenates my sore, stiff neck. I feel the throbbing in my head dissipate. I am carrying myself, I feel my power when I walk. My legs are strong, they still carry me forward. I used to only feel this way when I ran, in those moments where the pain in your lungs gives way to a glorious high, you float free of your cares with the wind at your back. I don’t run anymore, it just hurts, and the pain just gives way to more pain, but I’m grateful that my body can find a similar respite in a nice walk on a nice day.
I’m not walking towards anything, or away from anything for that matter. I take a turn down an unfamiliar street and see a house whose facade looks much like Jason’s. “It must have been made by the same builder” I think to myself. I notice a man sitting on the front step. I do that weird half-smile, head nod thing that indicates a friendly passing by.
“Great day for a walk,” he says.
“It sure is!” I pronounce. I have to duck under the trees on the sidewalk to get by. I look over to the man, he spontaneously tells me that he is visiting, I can’t remember why. “I feel real tall going under these trees,” I exclaim, trying to exude friendliness to match the environment I am walking in. He laughs. He makes a sort of apology for the trees that hang so low a child would have to duck under them. “Oh no, I love it,” I tell him, “I’ve never felt so tall!” You see, it’s just really nice when the world makes you feel bigger than you are: grander, more important, more prominent. I ask if I can pet his small dog, which resembles an old man with newly trimmed grey eyebrows. He says yes and petting the dog feeds my soul.
I keep walking. I think of anything and everything and while I move I feel capable. I feel strong.
My mind wanders.
“I wonder how my next MRI will turn out. And jeez, how much will I have to pay out of pocket this time?” I find myself hoping the MRI will happen sooner or later, I think that I should check on the insurance approval come Monday.
I think of how excited I am to be a bridesmaid for a dear friend. Then I scoff in my mind at the woman in the bridal store telling me my upper body doesn’t match my lower body. She doesn’t realize my legs carry my heart forward, that’s why they are built strong, to withstand.
I see bugs scurry under my feet and hope I didn’t crush any.
I see pretty flowers, and consider taking a picture to post on Instagram, to make my mundane walk seem like more of an adventure. I opt not to. Digging my phone out of my purse seems like such a chore.
I listen to the ice cubes rustle around in my tea. I take a sip as I turn back towards where I started.
What is fantastic about this movement is that even when I return to where I came, I am not the same as when I’ve started. I’ve seen the little things in the world that rejuvenate us and breathe life into us. From the friendly compliments at the tea shop, to the petting of a strangers dog. All things that I would miss if I just tried to close my eyes and hope for things to be different. I used to not like to walk because I thought I had to move forward in a certain way, at a certain pace, towards a certain dream, towards certain goals. What I didn’t realize were all the little movements and moments I was missing on the way.
I can’t sit still anymore – Alone with my thoughts I seem to torture myself into whys and what ifs. But when I move, I feel the grace of my body (or lack of grace, I am clumsy after all) feed the hopes in my mind and for those moments I am free.
Peace and love,