For thirteen years I’ve walked along this lake, most with a dog, stick in his mouth, longing, eyes on the lake. Now, I can only touch his stick, which he is offering to me, and which I know disappoints him because I can’t throw it into the water until I heal. I’m too focused on my heart’s beat, and that I’ve dropped more weight. I’m focused on upturning my collar today as the weather has shifted back to Northwest normal. Buster has a sense about me, and he is happy to eat the spring grass, dip his toes in, and swim circles around thrown imaginary sticks. I think how I’ve turned his life around, and how he keeps me walking, the very thing I have to do.
Walking is a sort of meditation. I meditate on all the stories I’ve collected through my job. The one I keep going back to is of this beautiful woman from Denver, hair a black, tangled nest around her thin face, her smile, as she tells me about the book she wrote for her son following her first heart surgery and how, after her second surgery she runs marathons, but still she says, “I shouldn’t be here, but I am.”
I take pleasure when my barber vacuums my head after my first haircut, tasting my first Baja Taco, my first sip of decaf coffee, avocados. Everything seems new.
My book is a lake I walk along every day. Sometimes it’s a mirror, others it is a place I could drown in. Today the sun halos my dog’s muzzle as he runs the trail ahead of me and then looks back as if to say, “c’mon, there is more to see.”