I like to think I am aware of my surroundings.
Out on a morning walk, I wander into the native planting section of Winnemac Park. There are wood chips on the ground, soft landing for my feet. A low wooden fence.
I’ve been here before. But it’s been a few weeks. Months. I’m not sure. I lose track of time.
Today the planting is as tall as my head. Taller. Green stalks, some with yellow flowers and brown centers. Purple flowers and greenish centers. What we used to call Queen Anne Lace when I was a child. I have to push my way through it, clearing the way for my next step. Jungle-like.
I am smiling.
I walk through it again on my way back home, as the morning grows hot and humid. This time I pull out my ear buds. Right after Labelle’s Lady Marmalade.
It is so quiet. Right here in the city. I hear the birds. The dogs. The cars passing by on the perimeter merely a hushed vibration. It immediately feels different.
I don’t know why I’m surprised.
My ex always had music playing. And while I love it, I often found it overwhelming. I craved the quiet.
And yet, now living on my own, music is very much a part of my background. Perhaps the quiet frightens me now, alone with my thoughts.
But now it feels like a respite. A great, big exhale. As if I am on an entirely different walk. As if the walk just moments before had never been. The change is palpable.
I look to a weeping willow and think, “I need to come here every day. Even just for 10 minutes. To walk on the wood chips. To get lost in this “forest” of native planting.”
Ah. That still small voice. I couldn’t hear it over the Donna Summer Pandora Channel (which, by the way, is excellent for walking…except when you are trying to hear that still small voice.)
I greet a big, black lab on the path. He is off-leash. I am afraid for a moment. I peer around the corner looking for his owner. “Is he friendly?” I ask. He is.
His owner had been lost in his own world –his nose tucked into one of the tall purple daisy-like flowers.
I feel a tinge of sadness leaving. I always want more.
Walking home I admire the beautiful teak wood furniture on the porch of a brownstone. Its pads noticeably missing. The greenish brass elephants flanking it.
Wooden flower boxes hang off the window of a multi-unit brick building. The only ones – obviously installed by the tenant. His joy. Her contribution to the neighborhood.
Tiny gardens are planted in the small open spaces outside of single-family homes and brown-stone three-flats. Shady spaces, lush with green leaves and plantings, moist rocks and black earth. A burgundy Japanese maple.
I smile, sort of wistfully, at the sad attempt at yarn bombing on the trees outside of the church across the street.
Arriving home, my mind is noticeably still. I could hear Pandora playing in my bag, I had forgotten to turn it off – The Weather Girls, “It’s Raining Men.” Miracle. I hadn’t been thinking of them at all.