A Morning Walk
I’ve been trying to break up the day with more walking, get moving as soon as my feet hit the floor in the mornings. These weird November days have been unsettling--both too warm and too dark. I’m still jumping into the ocean and my neighbors have just put up their Christmas tree. Hard to say who is living in the bigger dream world. We are losing all sense of time.
There’s no one out this early. Not even the dog walkers or the joggers. Only the anxious, those walking to unravel a thread, trying to solve something. It’s strange to be relieved not to see anyone else, just the deer, defiantly meandering across the empty two lane road.
Except for my neighbors from a distance, I could go days on end without really seeing anyone. I used to try to pretend I was out in a dune shack, isolated from society, managing only on the supplies I’d bought for the week. Waking up at dawn and going to bed early, reading and listening to the radio. That worked for a couple of weeks, when every day was a little bit lighter as we inched closer towards summer.
Now? Well...I can understand why people are putting up their Christmas trees early.
On this morning walk, ribbons of fog hang low in the air, scraping the treeline. Above, electrical wires and telephone cables follow the same meandering stretch of road, all the way down to the seaside. I imagine the fog as its own transmission line with some message that will soon evaporate.
That is the trick of the fog, as you move closer and closer, you can never catch right up to it. As I walk nearer to the sea, the roar of the waves intensifies. I pass a cluster of above ground transformer boxes, drab olive green metal that might blend in someplace where the dominating color wasn’t grey. They hum along to an electrical song.
The air shifts considerably from a crisp fall morning into something almost balmy. The sea air rolls in, thick and warm. I walk back and forth across this invisible border between cool and warm. It feels like a secret, to have stumbled into this atmospheric dividing line, the weather equivalent of a hidden room behind a bookshelf. I look around for someone else, a passing walker or moped rider or even a car--someone to experience what I just have.
Walking back, the tawny body of a small, white-bellied deer lies in the strip of grass between the bike path and the road. A bloodless scene, its dainty legs positioned in such a way, it looks as though the deer is suspended mid-leap. I figure it was probably the same one I saw meandering in the middle of the road just a half hour before. But the herd out here is huge, the angle of the sun low, streaming into a driver’s eyes. I make a note to call the DPW when I get in.
Over the last four years, I have worn a rut along this stretch of road from my house to the sea. I have memorized each fence post. I wait all year for the blackberries to ripen, the beach pea to bloom. I watch houses get framed and finished and sold and flipped.
As I near home, a runner sprints closer and closer. He waves and doesn’t say hello, but instead, “See you tomorrow.” I can’t place him, but he remembers me.
I never think of myself as part of the scenery, but I guess by this point, I am.