November 29 Walk

I’m past caring about work, and I’m sitting in the dark, drinking a glass of cheap white wine and staring at Facebook. Ian walks through the room and I realize I look a sight.
I put on a coat and hat, kiss my family and walk out into the dusk. I’ve been on the computer since early morning, except for a surprise lunch out with friends, and I know it’ll do me some good to get moving. I usually turn left on Eagle Road, but this time I turn right and walk toward the school playfield because the sunset pulls me on. I always want to fall into the colors. The school is empty, quiet. On the blacktop I see the only other pair of souls enjoying this space away from cars and lights: a man and what appears to be a small German shepherd. I have a choice—speak and be friendly or conspicuously ignore them. As I think it’s safer to engage with people, even in the dark and when alone, I called out.
“Hello! Your dog is very handsome. Is he or she quite young?”
“She is almost 3, actually.”
“She’s petite then. Very pretty. Have a nice evening.”
I walk on through the upper field, and stop to take some pictures of the sky. It’s mostly clear, except for some obliging wispy clouds on the western horizon, which provide some drama as the colors deepen and twilight falls.
Emerging onto the street where Ian lived as a boy, I take in my surroundings. Giddy birds chirp from within palms and hedges. Some homes are dark; some have cheerful porch lights shining, or Christmas lights running along the eaves. Lawns are blanketed with fresh gold and wilting brown leaves, a thick carpet, especially those yards with a mulberry tree in their center. Other yards are fastidious; someone has been along with a blower. The orangey-pink light reflects off cars parked along the road.
It’s chilly. I’m glad I have my hat, and my phone in my hand reminds me that I’m not really alone. The sky is darkening above me, the horizon now approaching claret. I wish I could find a vantage to take a sunset shot without cars in view, but this is the suburbs.
It feels good to stretch my legs, but I kind of wish I had my sneakers on instead of my street shoes. No matter. I know that if I had taken the time to change them, I might have lost my momentum and not walked out the door.
I reflect that I am never buying any of the inflatable Christmas characters that stand guard in front of some homes in my neighborhood. Then I reflect that I’m a snob. Suddenly the neighborhood smells overpoweringly of someone’s laundry detergent.
It’s dark now, and I’m heading homeward along a black street without sidewalks. Cardinal is a street that goes through, and people often speed here on their way through the usually sleepy neighborhood streets. Each time the occasional cars and trucks approach me from behind, I hop across the gutter into peoples’ yards. I’m invisible in my jeans, black coat, and a black hat.
I think about Dedra, my friend I used to walk with regularly. It’s been over a year since I saw her, and we haven’t walked in forever. I miss her, so I send her a text. I figure the light of my phone makes me more visible.
When I arrive home, my cheeks are cold and Ian’s got dinner on the table.

Spring, How I Love Thee

Tree Blossoms

Helicopter Seeds Forming


Neighbor's Daffodils




Neighbor's Magnolia (Tulip Tree)

All are scenes I found while walking in my neighborhood. Welcome, spring!

Morning Fog

Foggy Dawn

Today is one of those glorious pea-soup foggy days. I told Asher that some cloud up in the sky was curious about people, and came down to visit. “Look, mama, I can’t see the school!”

I have 35 minutes to myself to get my heart pounding and revel in the quiet. Normally I would hear many birds singing and squirrels barking whenever I passed too closely to their trees. Not today. In the hush of the low-lying mist, even the birds seem to whisper, as though they’re in church.

Perhaps the hundreds of squirrels are all still abed, sleeping in. Perhaps today is a day of rest, even though it’s not marked as such on my calendar. Spiderwebs on hedges are so wet with dew, they are sagging.

I pass a neighbor’s yard. Tiny droplets of water sparkle at the end of pine needle sprays. The closest trees are black against the fog, distant ones are erased in mist. The trees are laid bare, arthritic bones are revealed. And yet, they look lacy against the gray-white sky, as though they’ve put on crocheted gloves over their bony fingertips. Some still sport seed pods or random leaves that forgot to fall. Some are already swelling with buds, as if to proclaim to King Winter, “I am not finished! You will not conquer me.”

No dogs bark at me, even at the home where five of them jealously guard their little patch of Fair Oaks. Their fence sign boasts, “I can make it to the gate in 3 minutes. Can you?” I assume they’re all vying for space near the heating vents and fireside indoors.

I walk down a long straight hill, noticing the deep green of a redwood, the rosy blush of a heavenly bamboo bush. Tiny signs of the coming spring are revealed a bit here, a bit there. I have to look closely for them, and they make me smile. There’s a flowering quince! It’s coral buds are getting fat. Some early blooms are opening nearest the base of the twigs, and they’ll bloom upward like that in a kind of wave. I spy rosemary bushes covered in lavender blossoms. But they’re lonely. No bees serenade them yet. One front yard is graced with a thick ruffle of petite, buttery jonquils.

I notice the squish of my feet as I pass some yards, where the messy autumn leaves are being left to rot. Leaf litter is ground into black muck on the pavement. Some leaves are disintegrating into doilies.

A small flock of Canada geese flies low, making two passes and honking. They are clownish phantoms except when directly overhead. Their monochrome blends into the sky.

I trudge up the hill and come close enough that the garish green fence finally reveals itself. It blinks out of the fog as if someone just turned on the electricity. It is the greenest fence I have ever seen. It is, frankly, impossibly green, and moreover, frankly, I adore it. If it had only stayed plain, showing its natural wood tones, it could have graced a traditional Japanese garden. Happily, its goofy coloring is nowhere near so demure. Happily, it shouts hello to me into the quiet morning.

I round the corner, passing the empty playground. Sometimes little ones with parents are here playing. Not today. Even the beehive in the base of the tree is quiet, seemingly deserted. I hope the bees are inside keeping warm.

There’s something rather Victorian about my neighborhood today. Somehow the fog lends these familiar sights a romance, a mystery. I imagine cobblestones and hoop skirts, and the watery glow of London streetlamps. Where is that piper when I need him?

Houses are storytellers, if you bother to notice the tales they share. Some are old-old, falling mournfully into disrepair or melting into their overgrown yards. Some tell you they are rentals; they seem to say they aren’t one-family homes, but rather they entertain a series of lonely guests year after year. Some homes are elderly men and women, who quite clearly and purposefully look after their health. They take their vitamins and their fiber. They are kept up, wearing nice clothes and dapper roofs. Their neatly trimmed trees and bushes tell you they see the manicurist regularly. Few homes around here are new; they glow with youth like the fresh-faced teens of the neighborhood. Some proudly sport both laugh lines and boob jobs at the same time. These have shiny SUVs in their driveways.

It’s all kind of magical. It’s all ordinary. And since I alone am here to witness it, it’s all mine.

Neighborhood Walk

Sometimes we take rambling neighborhood walks. Mostly I don’t bring the camera along because although I love it, it’s heavy. But on this gorgeous day last week I just had to! I wanted to get some photos of our neighbor’s spectacular tulips that completely line her whole front yard. At first the kids acted like it was a grueling forced march, but they cheered up before too long.

Asher has skills! I have mental pictures of 3-year-old Lucas balancing on these same rocks, wearing these same clothes. This is both astounding and comforting to me, somehow. Yes, I have been here—exactly here—before.

See what I mean? Could not miss the opportunity to view these girls up close!

This is our neighborhood beehive, in the (left) crack of this living tree. If it were a little higher up I might think we had found Pooh’s tree hive in the Hundred Acre Wood. I like watching the bees flying in and out on their busy errands.

Lucas at the Bird Tract Park—with obligatory found stick. “Don’t photograph me, Mom.” Hard to resist when the sunlight bounces off his hair like that.

And this? Self portrait.

This Moment: Terrain

Inspired by SouleMama {this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2018 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

  • Buy Our Festivals E-Books

  • Archives

  • Tags

  • Categories


  • Meta