Sunday, April 12, 2009


Over past months, weeks have passed between trips to my mailbox. I could offer excuses - the orientation of my house offers convenient entry on one side whereas the mail is deposited all the way on the side street and would take a whole three minutes to go outside to get - but, in truth, I was tired and it was cold. There were some days when, in hopes that a package had been delivered, I would drive the tenth of a mile from my garage to the mailbox to fetch the papers stuffed inside.

We huddle inside for a majority of the bitter winters, avoiding frostbitten fingers and numb noses by hurrying from heated vehicles to warm buildings before shedding layers of protective gear into colorful, puffy piles. It is, therefore, a joyful occurrence when I can see that a package was delivered yesterday and think that it must have been after 11AM since that's when I was last outside to check. I wake easily of late, sun streaming in the patio doors at the foot of my bed and leaving me to stretch out of dreams in a warm glow. Chienne and I have reinstated walks - she sits and stares at me when I don't ready myself early enough.

We wave at neighbors and greet the others who walk and bike the paths through the forest nearby. Feeling rather fortunate that I can walk from home rather than parking in the convenient lots, we spend time along the edge of the river before selecting a new route and weaving through bare trees and over soft earth.

The bravest of the trees, either immune to or unafraid of the lingering threats of frost, boast buds at the tips of their branches. I tend to stare upwards, admiring the graceful branches against a bright blue sky, while Chienne's nose is rarely far from the ground, rooting through soft grasses and nearly touching mossy paths as she explores emerging scents. Neither of us are particularly concerned with what's ahead, content to feel the warmth of the sun contrast the mildly cool breeze.

Though we were not alone on the paths, the park was mostly quiet. We stayed on the pavement, traversing the route an order of magnitude slower than the bikes that often share the space, but never startled by a quick "passing on the left" warning. I sometimes envy those speeding past, much as I do the joggers in their fitted clothing and steady breathing patterns. I glance down at my loose clothing, often with a bag of poo in one hand, and shrug. Slow paces allow me to snap photos and have Chienne prance happily at my side. I pause at forks in the paths, peering down each option before selecting the most promising. I move closer to the pile of mulch in the park, breathing in the complex aroma of earth and pine and wood chips.

It's Easter so I spent moments in prayer and reflection. I allowed guilt to tug at me for not going to worship, but continued to walk. I threw up at church one Easter, overwhelmed by my acolyte robe and all the people and the stuffy sanctuary. I'm typically distracted by all the rustling chiffon as the girls twirl and tug at their pastel dresses. The hymns are always rich and full, I remembered wistfully, supported by a church-full of voices, some unpracticed but strong nonetheless. Quiet prayers count, I told myself gently, arms swinging at my sides rather than clasped before me. Head up and eyes busy rather than, respective, down and closed. But my mind focused and, for a moment, I felt peaceful.

I returned home, muscles pleasantly warm and tired, and tugged the mail from its box. I toed off my shoes while unclipping Chienne's leash, both of us searching for water. I undressed to shower while she joined Sprout in a sunny spot on the floor. Pulling the camera from my sweatshirt pocket, I downloaded pictures once I was clean and dressed in different pajamas. I'm debating the remainder of my plans. I can stay awake and go to brunch then work. Or I can send my regrets and curl into a nap amidst preparing for a week ahead. I can open the books that have, in fact, arrived and sort the papers that were tucked beside the box. And I can look out the door as people emerge from their houses, similarly appreciative of the end of hibernation season before the summer version begins.


Unbalanced Reaction said...

I love that you showered and then put another pair of PJs on... I do the same thing!

Psych Post Doc said...

I hope you stayed home...

post-doc said...

PJs are still on, UR. And I did stay home, PPD.

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