It was not our first time walking together but it was the first time we set a specific time, cross country, no less. Her in California and me in Virginia. Time carved out of two busy lives even in this pandemic time of WFH, lack of concentration, not enough sleep time. Over three thousand miles apart.
My daughter and I have always participated in activities together. Like the time I arrived to visit in Chicago to discover she had signed us up for a Kundalini Yoga Workshop or even last week when we decided to listen to lectures given by the historian, Heather Cox Richardson via zoom so we could see each other and discuss the topic. So this past Sunday she set out on a hike up the hill and I set out to walk my circle walk around the church next door. She wore her mask and brought her dog. I walked without a mask as no one is near the church. The last time I visited her I had walked this walk with her so I know the street names, some of the familiar houses and the view, once she reached the top. It’s not a short walk and i could her breathing change as she walked up the steep incline. As I circled I looked up to the tall elm to see if the eagle was on his perch. He was present. Although his mate was not. I’m walking on pavement, she on sidewalk. I hear her birds singing, she hears mine. We are together in step. We discuss what ever surfaces from personal to politics. When she arrives at the summit, she describes what she sees: the cranes, Treasure Island, heavy fog covering the city, the Golden Gate. We pause, take in the view. her by sight, me in my imagination. Then she says, ” Do you want to do some yoga?” I say yes and she leads us through mountain pose, triangle, a slight backbend, prayer hands, forward fold, warrior one and two. Goddess Pose. Half Moon pose. We end with folded hands and bow to each other, even with the distance.
Earlier we had been discussing the labyrinth I built in the front yard and the possibility of making it more permanent by adding rocks and stones. We have walked many labyrinths together since I began studying labyrinths in the 1990’s. Grace Cathedral, San Francisco Theological Seminary, Edgar Cayce Center, And several in Chicago, we discovered together. She said she missed walking a labyrinth and found it puzzling she could not locate one near where she lived. Then in an instant she shouted, “there is labyrinth up here! It’s made with stones. Looks like it’s been here for a while.” She had followed her dog down this narrow path through a small gathering of trees and when she cleared the trees there it was.
This morning we walked the same walk. This time we walked our labyrinths with our phones disconnected, silent meditations. She began her descent. I walked in circles, she walked back down the hill to her apartment, said goodby and we began our separate work days.
While we are walking we try not to talk about when we will see each other again, when it is safe to fly. It has been our worst fear, not to see each other for a long time, now perhaps even a year until there is a safe vaccine. We say how lucky we are to have the phone.
Even in this pandemic new universe, we know we are fortunate, lucky even to share precious time, awake and walking, holding each other in our hearts, close oh so close.