We’ve been walking.
My wife and I have tried a few times to up our activity level by walking around the park in the evenings, but with schedules the way they are something always gets in the way and it sort of gets pushed into the background of the things we need to do. On this iteration I made an offering. I’m a night person, and I married a morning person. Logically, this seems optimal for covering a broader operational spectra because there should almost always be someone on deck and ready for action. Realistically, it doesn’t quite work that way. Usually it means one of us is causing the other to lose sleep, which may be pulling down the readiness curve. Anyway, I sucked it in and said, “Hey, why don’t we try getting up early and walking before work?” Debbie looked at me with what could be understated as disbelief. She knows I mumble answers to her as she gets ready for work and then collapse back into the coma that carries me through the early hours. Anyway, I knew that was going to be the only long-term solution to the walking issue. But some mornings she still issues me a morning reprieve.
Today was not one of those days.*
I do enjoy the time to think.** Today as I was mulling the myriad of things I’ve got to do.*** I caught my long, faint shadow out of the corner of my eye. I looked to see if the sun was above the horizon, as it’s the second day of summer, and I fear the fast approaching winter. The sun wasn’t up, but there was a bright reflection off the sky just above the mountains with some of the canyons showing direct sunlight. As I looked off to the west and saw the belt of Venus, it made me glad and suddenly I was back to the mornings in first or second grade.
I had to walk to school and cross the great playground at about this time of the morning. I remember the distant, muted white noise of traffic and the sun glinting off the Bingham copper mine in the distance. From the playground I could see the tower at the Murray smelter and knew that my Grandma worked right by there. It seemed so far away, yet I could see the benevolent face of Colonel Sanders gazing protectively over the valley. There was the fall smell to the air, back then, that always takes me back to this place too. It’s one of those memories that’s starting to have the corners worn off it, so I’m usually loathe to bring it out, because it’s one of the good ones.
I remember the playground being so big that on adventurous days I’d try to get expeditions together to make it to the fence at the far side of the playground. Often we would get turned back as we crossed the boundary to the grass. “It’s too far”, “We’ll never get back in time”, “Beyond here, there be monsters!”**** Downhearted, as Hillary must have been at times, we would turn back with a final glimpse over my shoulder of my elusive goal, swearing to try again.
I feel there’s something about that sort of adventure that’s lacking in me now. I’m not quite sure what happened to it. Maybe it’s still down there and it occasionally boils up, like when I got my kayak, but there’s some adultedness that seems to have smothered the fire of pushing the boundaries, like when I don’t take the kayak out of the basement. I love to see what’s over the next hill, but somehow I need to mow the lawn, or clean the dust out from the pile of cables under my desk before I can do that. But some morning when I’m stumbling along bleary-eyed, maybe I’ll see if I can’t make it to that fence before the adult wakes up and catches me.
* although she does always ask if we’re walking when the alarm goes off.
** It’s another story about what I think about thinking.
*** finishing my dad’s birthday gift, putting more soil in the compost for re-planting my puny garden, clean the dust out from the pile of cables under my desk, finding some way to bolt my rolling mill to something stable, getting work on etsy, etc…
**** Ok, so nobody ever said that, I don’t think. But I told you the corners were getting worn off this memory.
We’ve been walking.