My favorite activity be it spring, summer, fall…and yes, I suppose even winter, is walking. Long walks through my neighborhood, getting lost in a place I know as well as the puzzle shape on the back of my dog’s neck. My feet tired, always walking too far, and nearly wretched by the time I make it home. But best of all is watching the way my neighborhood changes from season to season. Watching the crocus and tulip give way to columbine and flox, then submitting to piles of leaves and clogged grates. Too often, the walk becomes about the destination – how far I can get, a retail street I want to meander along to see what’s changed, or grabbing a coffee or waffle. I walk by the budding trees, the street arrayed in pinks and purples and whites. “How pretty,” I think as I stride past, seeing only the flower nearest my line of sight, missing entirely the tiny bright veins in the petals, those webs of life that course through us all.
Today, I stopped and looked. I stood under magnolias and gazed up into the patchwork of pink and brown and blue sky. I saw the network of flowers as a pattern of color, not as individual pieces attached to more individual pieces. The trees were one, connected through all their pieces – ground to trunk to limbs to branches to stems to flowers to the wind and the sky. I stood alongside a dogwood and looked into the white petals like so many ballet slippers. The apple blossoms against a blue sky, a wedding veil catching a fresh breeze. Cheery blossoms so deeply pinkish-purple that I recognized ambrosia swirling in the silver cups of Athena and Diana.
Too often, we walk by the world, even as we walk in it. Stop. See into it. Look through it. Look beyond.