QUAIL MUTTERINGS #13. Three Walks (January 21, 2012)
We’re already three weeks into the new year! Can you believe it? 2011 seemed to have disappeared in record time leaving me feeling a little at a loss. Sure, we all tend to agree that each year appears to fly by quicker than the previous one, but it’s one thing to just talk about it and quite another to allow yourself to feel it. It can be a bit unsettling. The only remedy I know of, even if only temporary at best, is to go out for a walk. Not a power walk or a run, but more of a stroll. So that’s what I did. Three times this week. I sandwiched these jaunts between work, tax preparations and a variety of other time consuming, stress producing activities.
On Tuesday morning, after my morning exercises but before teaching the afternoon ballet classes, I wandered across the dry creek and the green sloping field across the dirt road and headed Northish. I stepped over an old, dead tree trunk that had fallen down the week before. I’d been throwing out hay for the horses and goats at the time and heard the crash of the branches breaking, but didn’t know exactly where it had come from.
When I got over to the upper field the green grass carpet sparkled. Each blade of grass was tipped with a dewdrop. Yes indeed, I thought, the fairies have been here. I remembered the lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, when I’d played the part of the fairy at Coronado Playhouse.
“…And I serve the Fairy Queen
To dew her orbs upon the green.
The cowslips tall her pensioners be.
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours;
In those freckles live their savours.
I must go seek some dewdrops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear…”
I lingered by the old Model-A truck frame, enchanted by the beautiful sea of diamonds, catching the early morning’s rays of sunlight before the wash of warmth coming over the ridge would alter their form. It felt magical for the moment.
On Wednesday morning I decided not to go for a run, but to take a walk instead. This time my dog, Job, and I headed back into the canyon. Brrr was it cold! Jack Frost had come to visit that night and turned the whole creekbed into a winter wonderland. Everything was coated white. The bushes, the grass, the sticks lying on the ground… All was frozen. It was a dazzling display of a winter’s kiss.
Further up the dirt road I passed another old Model-A. Icicles hung from the back bumper like stalactites. Far more perfect and appealing to my eyes than the strands of icicle lights hung everywhere during the Christmas season. They’re nice too, but really, there’s no competition.
Job followed his nose as we started up the mountain. He stays with me pretty well, but he likes a little freedom too. We walked through The Pretty Place, a small meadow with a creek running through it that sprouts thousands of delicate wildflowers in the spring. We’ve called it that since I was a kid. Just up from there I noticed the wild violets coming up. It’s only January and I don’t recall them so early before. The lilacs are even starting to bloom.
Once up top, at The Saddle, I was finally in the sun. It felt wonderful after being in the shade of the mountain all the way up. I looked across at the lovely blue-colored Cuyamacas in the distance and heard the water running, far below, in the Kimball Valley Creek. This water often comes fromLakeSoutherland on its way to San Vicente Lake.
I turned around to head back down the hill and paused to let the sun’s warmth sink into my back. This is nature’s therapy at work. I didn’t want to leave. After a few minutes, I nodded to my dog and we began our descent. With each step I noticed the muted crackle of the half-frozen twigs breaking beneath my feet. It was a familiar, somehow comforting sound of being in the moment, in the countryside, enjoying being alone on top of the mountain.
My third walk of the week was on Thursday with my oldest daughter, Jessie, who’s visiting fromChinawhere she teaches English at a university inLianyungang. It’s terrific that the Chinese New Year is almost two months long! At least her vacation is. She’s spending a couple days here with us, every so often, to get her dose of country air. She says the pollution there in the big cities is just awful. We walked briskly down the dirt road and then up a hill. This increased heart rates and forced us to breathe deeply and enjoy the views.
As I write this our son, Chance, is taking the Greyhound Bus back up to ChicoStateafter a long break between semesters. Soon, I’ll need to start picking out music and choreographing for the studio’s spring production of Rapunzel. Somehow the magic of this week’s walks: the ‘fairies’ dewdrops and Jack Frost’s visit, have helped inspire my readiness for the creative tasks that lay waiting for me in this new year. I now hope to ponder and wonder more, and watch, without trying to plan so much. It sounds worthwhile, anyway. Doesn’t it?