Friday, March 27, 2020

Slice of Life 2020: 28 of 31-The declaration and benefits of a silent walk

March is for daily slicing, and all are welcome! Join us at Two Writing Teachers!


After a long day, I agreed to go for a walk with two of my daughters. We drove to the walking trail, parked, and talked about how lucky we are that walking trails are still an option for us. Julia had been in meetings with her college soccer team, and many of them are not allowed in public places including fields, parks, trails, etc. 

Julia took off running, as planned, and Cecily and I headed along the trail. Our plan was to walk for twenty minutes and then turn around. Within about ten minutes, maybe five, maybe less but I think I made it at least five, we were angry with each other. I suggest. She ignores. I repeat. She ignores. I repeat (some might call it nagging). She reacts. You can probably get the picture. 

"I really need a peaceful walk," I said, as our conversation deteriorated into hostile recollections. "No more talking."

She said one more thing, and I bit my lip, allowing her the last word. Silence would be okay. 

And that's what we did. She hung back a few strides behind, and I didn't turn around. I just kept walking. For a while I stayed angry. I tried that breathing thing we do in yoga. Maybe it really did help because I got calmer. And then I noticed the good things along the walk. In Connecticut, the governor opened the fishing season early to avoid opening day crowds. We passed the pond and the brook alongside it where people were fishing, ten feet apart. Some were fly-fishing. As I walked by, a man pulled in a fish from the covered bridge he was standing on. In the early evening light, the fish flopped but shimmered, before the fisherman closed his hand around the fish to unhook him and release him. We circled the pond where I used to go to swim as a child, and I thought about how big it was when I was seven. Swimming across it was a huge goal. Catching frogs on the far side, away from our parents on the sandy beach, was a privilege since we were miles away in our small-child-perspectives. I wondered about the small-child-perspectives, as I've been doing a lot these days. What will children remember about this time when they are twenty? Thirty? Sixty? Eighty?

By the time Julia showed back up, I wasn't angry at all. She walked the last five minutes to the car, bringing conversation back to the outing. Maybe we'll do it again tomorrow. Maybe we won't argue at all. Maybe we'll just call silence right out of the gate and enjoy the reflections of a quiet walk. 


8 comments:

  1. There's a lot here - reflection, wisdom, peace. Silence in company is decidedly underrated. We're not used to it and we often fill it out of habit. But it does have the potential to grant us some space even as we travel together. Alone together doesn't always have to represent a negative state. Thanks for this full illustration of what's possible.

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  2. Time and breathing, walking and fresh air help to clear the mind and bring back the calm. I think all parents can relate to this post.

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  3. Yes! I have really a valued a quiet moment lately. They are scarce, but important.

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  4. Silence is golden, and apparently a fantastic way to settle disputes and truly be in the present during your walk. I love how you took the reader through the transformation. Wishing you peace during these times.

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  5. I don't think we realize that although we are social distancing from our lives we are less alone than we ever are personally. It is difficult to find alone time. I think that is going to be important for those of us with young adults in the upcoming weeks.

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  6. This happened to me today. Instead of staying a few feet behind, we were still close to home, so I just walked back. Some might storming back. My mom needed her silence and so did I. I love your reflection!

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  7. This struck me as I have been walking daily, but never alone. The dog. One of my boys. I am never alone. I think we all need some alone and whether it's with someone right beside us, alone time matters. You captured that beautifully in this piece.

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  8. This is such a beautifully structured piece. I could feel the tension at the beginning and then, without my noticing, it ebbed as you reflected during the quiet portion of your walk. My husband and I are alone at home these days and were reflecting that while there's joy in having your young adult children with you, there's probably also some stress. Keep walking together--quietly or not. Step by step, we'll make it through.

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