It was just under fifty degrees, overcast and the possibility of rain. I wanted to go for a walk but it is tax time and I wanted to get the papers prepared so I could take them to the CPA. The idea of needing to discipline myself led me to being antsy. My little dog picked right up on my mood. She watched for cues. Cues that she could read so she would know “we are ready to go!”. But I never gave her those cues because I wanted to take care of business first.
Finally. I had all my ducks in a row. The business was in order and I was ready to head out to the tax lady then, off for a walk. I was edgy, I wanted my walk, but the threat of rain was causing me to get tense. Then I thought, “oh hell, a little rain never hurt us before. I will just wear rain boots and a slicker”. So off I we went but, first turn in my taxes. I drove up to the tax lady. Dang! She wasn’t open yet so I decided to just go for the walk and rethink my priorities for this day.
My little dog wanted her walk too, she couldn’t sit still in the car. Finally we got to the forest, in sync we jumped out of the car and started out on the wooded path. This is the best part of our walk. The sudden burst of excitement to sights, smells and sounds. It was still overcast but already shaping up to be one of my better walks. We came out into the meadow, rounded the path and weaved back into a second meadow then down the trail to the peninsula. Finally all the knots were worked out my back and I was feeling pretty good. We came to the river rambling by quiet and gentle. Just then the clouds broke and a memory flooded over me.
Back in the 1960s as a pre-teen. I was antsy just like today. Couldn’t have been more that ten years old. I wandered out the back door rounded the block and started walking. I have always loved walking and I knew exactly where I would head. Back behind the Boise Cascade Lumber Mill. I skirted around the huge piles of logs as I saw the Yakima River come into sight. Ah, now this is what I needed. A walk by the river. I loved to do that then and I love to walk the Coosa River now. And for those of you who wonder yes, I did get in trouble with my mom for disappearing by myself.
Solitude has always been something I have enjoyed. Not curled up with a book or checking into a motel for quiet time but the kind of solitude that comes from a brisk walk in the woods as the oxygen courses through my bloodstream, clearing my head, and relaxing my muscles. Oh sure, there is the occasional walker I pass. We nod, pass a few pleasantries then, I move on. Mostly it is the birdsong or a croaking frog I commune with. If I stop moving long enough it gets quiet enough to hear a deer moving in the brush. Of course once I move or my dog goes on alert the deer does what it does best. Choses flight over fight as it prances lightly away.
I don’t know why I have always loved these walks. It really doesn’t matter. I have always found a place like this to walk, by myself, in no need of conversation. Except the conversation of the wind, the smell of the air and companionship of a dog. The solitude from humans is not really solitude like most people think about it. I am not lonely or scared. I don’t need to escape to regroup from life nor am I thinking deep thoughts or trying to discover purpose in the universe. I just want to be out there. Out there in the open, having my quiet time.
I have been this way since I was a child. I don’t “need” someone to go with me, I just want to ramble. Rambling on doesn’t have the same security it did back in the 1960s. Times of changed, I have grown older and aging has set in. I can’t afford to get hurt or lost now. Now I am product of the times, I carry a Smartphone with a App that lets my husband know where I am just in case he needs to find me. Most of the time he is secure in the fact he knows where I am at and when I will return. All he has to do is check his “Find Friends” App and he can track my movement. It adds a certain amount of security nowadays so I can forget about external things and just listen to the river as it slowly rolls along, gently slapping the bank. Ah, I do the river.
The river flows quiet and swift
It twists and turns as the waters drift
It branches and breaks__
its fingers entwine
(From the The River Flows by Kailey Jennings )