old-fashioned travel

9 06 2004

i woke up restless at about 6 this morning and took off walking, which i usually do just around the neighborhood or maybe through thornden park, which is about 6 blocks from here, but occasionally i drag my un-sleepy feet all the way down to barry park, which is more like 16. this time the meander-bug was strong in me, and i went past barry park to the bird refuge on the other side of it, where there’s a half-hour walking-loop around the pond. the last time we checked this pond out (we’d driven down there, like wusses), it was sort of scummy, very windy, not terribly interesting, and really obviously just the product of many storm-drains having been engineered to come out in the same low-lying area to which swamp-grasses had been imported. walking the circle all quick-like and healthfully, i could still tell how it got here, but i could also tell that the red-winged blackbirds, the pair of blue herons, the huge muddy snapping turtles, the confused-looking crowd of mallards, and what looked an awful lot like a sandpiper didn’t care how it had gotten there, they were quite content to participate.

i also snuck off the main path and into the woods for a while, following what started out as a bike trail (w/real bike tracks), turned into a deer path (with real deer tracks), and ended up against a new chain-link fence surrounding an impeccably-groomed field with no markings or sports-constructions of any kind visible on it. i eventually made my way back to the path by following bent undergrowth to see where the deer got back out of the fenced area, but even that was peaceful, and still, and had tiny cars far-off on its distant perimeter but no humans to confuse me, just tall grasses to brush against my bare legs, and an occasional spiderweb to cling to my skin, and flox to mix into a fine perfume with sun-baked grass and some nutty leaf-smell and the richness of leaf-puddles and mud.

it was a relief in so many ways, really. first off, it’s hot out. i came home sweaty, and it was only 7:15 when i got here. it’s finally starting to resemble summer at least that much here, and that’s a miracle. i never thought i’d be so excited about mid-day lethargy and sticky skin. secondly and more importantly, though, i didn’t think there was anywhere i could get by foot here that still felt wild and possible. (thornden is way too cultivated) when i can vanish into the trees where nobody can see me or hear me or even remember me to wonder where i’ve gone, i can touch that timelessness that trees know, that sense of open-endedness to everything that you have when you’re 10 or 12 and go exploring, that faerie-tale gypsy magic inside us all that knows (but so easily forgets) that every tree is part of an enchanted forest.

then, because i couldn’t resist, i had to stop by the swingset for a few minutes of flying, and leap off at the end into the mulch, because that’s what you do. i got slightly disgruntled at having to pick up bottles from around the swings, not because i mind at all people coming out to have a nightcap under the stars at the playground or anything–imagine living somewhere you didn’t have to worry about getting busted for being on playgrounds at night!–but because the trash can was right there. to rationalize, though, how much can we really expect of smirnoff ice and bud lite drinkers?

so yay nature, especially in the early morning. yay energetic people walking their hyper puppies around the pond, and the friendly lady with the huskies and the really cool germanic accent who stopped to talk to me about the snapping turtles. yay the cute little irish-laborer on my way back up the hill after my pond excursion, still-drunk w/an empty, hopeful coffee mug in his hand, who gave me the slowest, gentlest wink and made me think of leprechauns. yay the 14-year-old girl in the sundress balancing laundry in a basket on her hip who looked like she ought to be beside an african river instead of on the sidewalk of westcott street leaving the laundromat. and yay the sunlight, angular and orange when i started out, now high and yellow-white in a prairie-blue sky. i’ll have to hide from it most of the day, of course, because i have no pigment, but in the mornings it’s all mine, and i do what i can to soak it in and send it out again. if you reach out into its gaze sometime today, i’ll be there to hold your hand.

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5 responses

9 06 2004
west_wind

Handholding
I like your kind of walking so much…it gives me chills. I spend so many mornings walking through the dew with my little doggie who enjoys so much stuffing her nose into every cobweb that has spread itself out across the lawn. Yay for enchanted mornings.

9 06 2004
cheshirrrecat

you are So Incredibly Beautiful…
i Love you.

9 06 2004
pdxstraycat

And you think I’m the bestest? DAMN darlin’, you amaze me so. It seems like every day you find a new way to captivate me. All of my love.
–TR

9 06 2004
tyra

oh, you’re just gushing b/c i let you sleep in in the mornings instead of waking your ass up demanding to be entertained!

9 06 2004
pdxstraycat

If it’s entertainment you want… 😉
–TR

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