On Not Walking

Walking is joy. I love walking like I love Ira Glass and peanut butter cups.

I am surprised that since I moved back to America from London, that I have given it up.

Just basically decided that even though it is one of my favorite things to do in the world, I am not even going to bother to try.

Except for now walking the kids to school, I don’t walk anywhere anymore. (Because between the house and the car does not count).

I hate that.
Fluffy slippers are to blame for my slothdom
Day 12, #Reverb10

Prompt: Body integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? (Thanks Patrick Reynolds!)

I do yoga, which I “count” as exercise. But the problem with “life” is that somehow me must “add” exercise into the lives we are currently living. Unlike the life I lived in London, where walking was the only viable means to transport oneself.

Which leads me to the answer of Patrick’s question. which is simple: my body sighs and disappears into the surf of ecstasy with its mind lover whenever I am OUTSIDE. Not flipping the pages of my iPhone. Not Tweeting. Not writing. Not thinking at all. My mind takes the wagon ride, laying back and watching the birds fly and the leaves shudders. Deciding nothing more than whether the sky is cerulean or cornflower.

One summer morning, I was procrastinating some work, so I decided to wander out to the backyard and have a look at how things were growing in the garden. I knew there’d be weeds, so I brought the bucket and my weed tool.

I started with the lettuces. The morning was cool, but the sun beats down ceaselessly in this veggie patch. By the time I made it to the shadier row of the tomatoes, I climbed under their arms and kept going. They hid me and cooled me.

Two hours disappeared this way. I forgot to remember to check the time or to even care to. My fingers were coated with dirt and my tongue reminded me I’d gotten thirsty a while ago. But the rhythm of the work was perfect. I moved until the momentum of my body slowed naturally.

I love to walk… but I don’t. I miss the grey and brown and brick and stone London streets, where I could be alone singing in my thoughts. But I am not doing THAT right now.

So other things are blooming. Now little children ask me if they can ride on my back. And half hours are lost being horsey and tumbling and tickling and rolling around. Mindessly and delightfully.

There’s the “monster” game too… which has no rules other than to chase and catch, and to run and to laugh. And to lose time again, to delight.

I do miss my feet– but I do skip and gallop more these days.

THE CHILD MEDITATES

The oak-tree in front of my house
Smells different every morning.
Sometimes it smells fresh and wise
Like my mother’s hair.
Sometimes it stands ashamed
Because it doesn’t own the smell
It borrowed from our flower-garden.
Sometimes it has a windy smell,
As though it had come back from a long walk.
The oak-tree in front of my house
Has different smells, like grown up people.

My doll hides behind her pink cheeks,
So that you can’t see when she moves,
But it doesn’t matter because
She always moves when no one is looking,
And that is why people think she is still.
People laugh when I say that my doll is alive,
But if she were dead, my fingers
Wouldn’t know that they were touching her.
She lives inside a little house.
And laughs because I cannot find the door.

The colours in my room
Meet each other and hesitate.
Is that what people call shape?
Nobody seems to think so,
But I believe that lines are dead shapes
Unless they fall against each other
And look surprised, like the colours in my room.

— Maxwell Bodenheim

You May Also Like:

Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She teaches and speaks about the rhetorical impact of beautiful writing. A recent transplant to Connecticut, she calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home.

 

Tags: