It’s time to get up from my old chair, step out from a front door that is new to me and take an everyday walk around a locked-down neighborhood. The neighborhood itself is beautiful, and wonderful to explore. We have hills to keep us in shape, streets to walk, and glorious weather from sun to misted rain. There is even a forested neighborhood park that makes me believe I have moved far away from civilization.
But I have moved to Olympia, Washington and straight into a stay-at-home order. Like most everyone in the world, I seek some sense of normalcy, so I continue my daily walks. Now, instead of new cities and countries and continents, I explore near-by streets, and if I’m lucky, a new path through the close-by forested park.
Today I head out through my backyard onto a cut-off hilltop that I have named Pixie Woods. A tiny grassy meadow circles a large water tank, and trees – probably a dozen whose names I do not know – grow everywhere. I look straight up from my footsteps and I see limb after limb and leaf after leaf and beyond that, blue sky. I look down to my shoes and see moss and lichen and ferns and hundreds of small growing things. They might be weeds, but are so delicate that I cannot imagine anyone wouldn’t want them growing in profusion, as they are doing now around each of my footsteps. I am from a place of perpetual drought, so the faint color in the pin-sized flowers make me feel protective – how do these fragile growing things survive?
I pass through the small park and walk on a main road that takes me up to the top of the hill I live on. Overlook Park is here. Today clouds near and far hide Mt. Rainier, an icon I had assumed I would have visited by now, two months after I moved to this place where there is so much to explore, but not right now, not for anyone, including me.
I am lamenting too much. In the midst of an earthly microbe showing us how powerless we are, everyone in my household is healthy. That, all by itself, should give me more comfort than I have ever deserved. Even the tiny weeds with their shy flowering bits should give me hope.
So, my walk is grateful. Really, truly filled with gratitude, even if I have to force it just a bit. Because day after day, the same walk can become boring in its beauty. Maybe I haven’t, by some good fortune, been infected with a virus, but I have always been infected with restlessness and that large failure of simply being human. My mind keeps craving a walk to Tumwater Falls, to Priest Point Park, and to the Nisqually Nature Reserve, all close-by but for now, off-limits. So I take a deep breath, and in good moments, am satisfied with the smallness of this neighborhood, beautiful and safe.
I walk back up to my new-to-me front door, and practice patience. This unknown home town will still be here in a little while, when it is safe to explore.
Finally, back with the worldwide walking group of the famous RJo!
Please join the Monday Walk with RestlessJo and friends: