Yesterday morning I sat on the sofa with my phone and checked my email. Projectnotices had an unpaid role for me, the Writer's Almanac served up the poem of the day, Dollhouse Bettie wanted to sell me a thirty dollar thong. Nothing spoke to me. However, a whisper of a desire to take a walk overcame my spirit, and I answered the message. The blue sky smiled behind the sheer curtains of the living room windows. I put on a pair of boots, announced to a still snoozing husband that I'd be taking a walk, and off I marched out the door.
From the sidewalk in front of our home, a wanderer has three choices: go to the left, go to the right, or head straight back and up the driveway of an abandoned church property.
A friend of mine reminded of the the Choose Your Own Adventure series the other day. She said she would read each of the choices to ensure her adventure lasted the longest and kept her reading. No one wants to get from the first page to the last page in two steps, right? I stood on the sidewalk and considered my options with her childhood theory in mind. I chose the path that rose behind me -- a river of black asphalt.
The air was lively as it pushed branches of tender birches, and drew its thready windfingers through my hair. As I rounded the corner by the old church, two cars made their way along the road, their passengers ready for church. I reconsidered my outfit of plaid pants and leopard print gloves, and then the insecurity floated away with the exhaust fumes of their cars.
I like to keep my head up when it's breezy. The wind jostles even fading leaves awake. I walked past the 1970's split level that has been for sale for the past ten years (there used to be a baby grand piano visible through the bay window), beyond the row of hedges that fence the house with an in-ground pool. The sky stayed the stillest of blues. A few leaves rattled on the branches. Half of a double-wide home wore the faux green garland of Christmas on its windows, the other half anticipated Thanksgiving with handmade paper turkeys.
I walked the woods of the suburbs -- gumdrop and crew cut hedges, flea-combed lawns, SUVs parked squarely under the carport. Choose your own limited adventure.
I stopped by a birch tree in front of a house with wooden pilgrims stabbed into drying flowerbeds. The wind tickled the remaining leaves and turned them into delicate chimes. In the suburbs, the tree is someone else's property. In the woods, it would be mine to close my eyes and listen to freely and without worry. I closed my eyes for a few musical moments and it sang to me from the its forest of symphonies. I didn't need permission from the tree's owner. It freely gave. Near the end of my walk, another tree released its leaves onto the road, while the wind tumbled them across the asphalt. Their canto rose and fell in reds and yellows toward me, and I caught every note, hungry to keep the pages turning.