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.