My neighbor, who strolls to work

e7c31270d4edaa92_barefoot-walking.xxxlarge_1There he is,

Across the street,

Emerging silently from his house

(Confederate gray with

Neat navy and burgundy trim,

And flowers–

Pink and white and alive–

Spilling from the window boxes).

Every morning he comes out as the

Sky is pinkening,

The eastern exposure of the

Neighborhood houses

Glowing softly,

The various greens of the grass and leaves

Hazy and still.

It’s 6:25 a.m.

In the summer,

I am on the front porch at this time,

Doing my writing

When he steps onto the sidewalk,

Slinging his backpack over his left

Shoulder like a

Teenager,

In a t-shirt even on the cool mornings.

He steps out of the house

Where I’ve seen him

Watering his flowers with a

Girlfriend, or maybe now a

Wife.

“There he is,”

I whisper to Joe

Who’s come out to

Kiss me good morning.

“Look how he walks.”

And we watch him.

His walk is gentle,

Gentle.

Watching him is like

Listening to a delicious voice speaking.

He strolls silently and slowly,

Looking around the

Treetops of his neighborhood

Like a visitor,

Taking it all in.

His left hand

Loosely clutching his backpack strap,

His right arm swinging mildly.

“I love watching him walk,”

I whisper to Joe.

“He walks so slowly.

And I think he’s on his way to work,

Probably to the bus stop.”

Who, I always think

When I see him,

Strolls

To

Work,

Looking around his neighborhood

As if he’s

Never seen it before?

Walking for me is

Charging.

“I recognized you by

Your walk,”

Joe said to me recently.

“How do I walk?”

I’d wondered.

“It’s…

Purposeful,” Joe had said.

“That’s how I walk,”

Joe points out on the porch this morning,

A little piqued,

Because I’m always telling him to

Hurry up,

Or I walk ahead of him,

And then wait impatiently for him to

Catch up.

Walking is all about

Getting somewhere,

Doing something,

Especially on the

Way to work.

Supposedly,

There is such a thing as

Walking meditation,

Where,

Ever so mindfully,

One places one’s bare foot

On the grass,

Relishing the

Textures and

Temperature and

Aliveness,

Observing how one’s

Arms and

Shoulders and

Torso and

Hips respond to the

Movement.

I’ve tried it

Once or twice.

It’s lovely and

Difficult.

These days,

I experience strolling

Vicariously,

Through my neighbor.

I take a long breath and

Watch him walk and

Think how lovely it must be to

Just stroll.

 

 

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