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Sandy Bottom Path

I hit the ground hard. I saw black, not stars. A black that ruled out sun. It took several minutes to stand again, collect the dog and continue on for another mile or so. Around my neck, a pendant of a labyrinth, written on the back: Solvitur Ambulando. All problems are solved by walking. I believe this. I walked around for three weeks with a cracked shoulder. Now in a soft cast, walking made more difficult. A few days ago turning to Thoreau, perhaps for comfort: He and I yearn  “for one of those old, meandering, dry, uninhabited roads, which lead away from towns which leads us away from temptation, which conduct to the outside of earth, over it’s uppermost crust; where you forget in what country you are traveling…along which you may travel…like a pilgrim…here my spirit is free.” I hit the ground again, remembering the moment of impact. The surrounding pines. Dirt path between the marsh. Small bits of gravel imbeded in my palms and elbow. Pine cones. Sandy Bottom Park, our walking field. A place of necessity. Walking a necessity. And now a temporary quarantine. Shut-in. Typing with one hand. Back straight. Hair pulled back. Wool socks on my feet. This morning I rolled out my yoga mat for the first time since the fall. I lit the rosewood incense. Again for comfort, beside me I open Thoreau: Journal 1853. He writes on January 26: ” It is surprising how much room there is in nature,- if a man will follow his proper path.” I think making poems, my proper path. I think the shoreline, my proper path. I think Sandy Bottom, my proper path.  I think the yoga mat, my proper path. I think the book open on my desk, my proper path. Radiant awareness, my proper path. One breath then the other. Silence. Like Thoreau, disturbed by the sound of his boots on frozen ground. I hit the ground hard. I stood up and did not care about dirt covering my clothing, mud patches. I continued the walk around the pond with mallards swimming calmly and the egret standing still. The ground then covered with pine needles, softening each step. It was almost dusk. Alone on the path, my proper path. And now this variation of the same path. Altered, adjusted. Movement more labored and yearning deeper for the walking, the pilgrim, the free spirit.

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