22 October 2022 – Today I learned:
Or remembered, in my body, how much I like to take walks and hikes on my own sometimes. Stopping for long periods of time to look at something, to take multiple photos, listen, breathe in, feel the warm breeze, feel.
And yes! there was a warm breeze today at Kezar Lake in Sutton, NH. It was 67F when I was there from about 1:45 until 3ish, sunny, and oh so pleasantly semi-tropical.
Everyone — walkers, runners, residents (but not bicyclists, of whom there were about a half-dozen) — greeted each other with “Beautiful day!”, a tangible overlay of widespread appreciation for the gift of a warm day in late October. When it could be snowing.
Both loons (female and chick, I assume, the male having left earlier) were still on the lake, not feeling any push to head to sea yet.
The “beach,” a narrow sand strip along part of the public shore, was available — sometimes it’s under water — so I walked it and tried to pretend it was a saltwater beach. That didn’t work but the sun, the warmth, the colours made it sweet.
An oak leaf was lazily moving along in the water.
I can stop to listen or take photos when walking with my husband and with some friends, but I’m always a little aware of slowing us down, or delaying the walk, taking too much time doing nothing purposeful, or, horrors, appearing too much like a naturalist.
And with someone else, I can’t really focus on what I’m feeling and respond to it. Today, alone, I felt completely relaxed, moving at my own tempo, in conversation with myself, noticing my responses to what my senses told me. I was one of six or eight single people walking, about half of whom wore headphones. I listened for the birds, the chatter of people in twos, threes, and larger groups passing, the breeze rustling the dry fall leaves, the squabbling squirrels, dog barks, cars, trucks, my footsteps on soft pine needles, on stones, dirt, sand, pavement, fallen leaves, my jacket making a brushing sound, my thoughts whirring and clanking.
I spent quite a bit of time standing and looking at this colour array, thinking “curtain.”
The sky was utterly blue, the reflections in the lake solid, an enchanting abyss.
The roads, both dirt and pavement, carried me along with almost no effort on my part. I just followed, breathing in the light smell of decay, wood smoke, warmth, lake water, damp earth, that elusive scent of beeswax that I often detect here.
I liked the feeling of being carried. Of being present but mostly as a watcher, a listener, something passive and buoyed, like the oak leaf, letting the water move it.
Featured image: hammock shifting in the breeze