Walking on a sunny Sunday -- its so special, somehow different from walking on other days of the week. Perhaps its because this day has long been set apart as sacred - though to me any day is such. Perhaps its because of all days in my neighbourhood, its the one day in which I meet up with more people to talk and spend time developing our neighbourly relationships? I guess its all that and more.
Today is one such idyllic blue-sky day. The kind you faithfully anticipate through all the grey and cloud and cold. The kind of which you try to make the most when it graces the week with its longed-for presence. The kind which draws Canadians out of their homes and fills their lungs with fresher air, inspires them to work the earth again, excites them to retrieve bikes, skateboards and rollerblades from their winter storage. You know this kind of day? You do, I know.
Today i walked for 1 1/2 hours. . i am a bit behind the times, so I borrowed my daughter's cast-off discman to help me out and I popped in one of the great CDs from this awesome band: http://www.downhere.com
I strode great strides, keeping time with the music. I straightened myself up to full height, pulled in my abs and walked with intensity and joy. There's something about walking, do you know what I mean? You see so much more detail than you would with speedier means of transport. Your senses are firing. . i think this is my favourite thing -- every few steps bring a different smell, loamy earth, fabric softener smell from dryer vents, sawdust from workshops, cooking and bbq aromas, acrid, peppery fertilizer odours from lawn-serviced yards. Sight. . there's lots to look at. . dogs, cats, squirrels, ponies. Yes, a young woman walked past our house yesterday with her Shetland on a leash!!! Sunlight and shadows shifting over the forest floor, over the pavement, over the houses, clouds dotting the blue, traveling with the wind. Feeling the air on your skin, the sun warming you, the wind lifting your hair and billowing your jacket. . Some of my thoughts were on the music, but other thoughts are playing around the edges of the melody, so I let them do their thing.
I did focus them for a while on a young family in the park. Mom, Dad, 2 kids. . an older girl and a younger boy - both on bicycles, one parent behind each. I gave them a wide berth, and I switched from the winding path to the adjacent forest. They had some serious kid business to attend to, the business of learning to ride a bike! Mom and son stayed behind me, doing practice circles. . while Dad and daughter kicked it up a notch and rode the path. She pedaled with this exultant, "Look!!! I'm riding a bike!!" expression on her face. Dad ran proudly behind, holding the grab bar at the back of her seat. We shadowed each other for quite a while, them on the paved path, me wending the higher path through the trees. It was really touching to see. . When she sped up, Dad ran behind. When she slowed down, Dad walked. Then, as she got clipping along, Dad let go. . . she didn't notice at first, but then she glanced back and saw him, then she wobbled and cried out. . and Dad ran to her aid, stopped her, talked to her and then gave her a pat on the helmet and they started up again with Dad at her back.
That was quite a thing to see. Such a picture of love and support. I went back in my mind to when our girls were little. . we did the same thing. . teaching, helping, showing, running behind and I thought also of me and God. . . I'm on the bike, he's running behind. I noticed with the dad and daughter that he didn't sit on a bench and read a paper and expect her to learn on her own. . . i noticed that he didn't start her off and then leave her. . . i noticed that even when he did let go, it was to help her become independent and when she got scared, he wasn't far and he ran right to her when she called him. I'm so glad I was able to witness that. I took a great lesson from that scene. . . my unwitting teachers will never know it, but I know it and God does too. Anything that helps me have a clearer picture of what he's like, helps me. That's something i could never learn sitting in a pew. . .shifting and yawning while someone talks at me. I need to see things - and today i saw an amazing thing, at which point i could almost hear God tell me: "That's you and me, Kathy. . . . I've got your back."