I stand there, all by myself,
alone outside the gym entrance,
watching the cars all drive away,
and just taking everything in.
I close my eyes, and feel.
I had just faced,
for the first time,
the greatest dragon in my life.
Gratitude floods my heart.
I look up at the clear blue sky,
face the bright yellow sun,
close my eyes again and feel
the warmth of the golden light
wash over my weathered face.
I can feel the hardened wrinkles,
the rays loosening the creases,
and I feel them move, melt, and
ease and relax and then finally
I am alive.
And in this moment,
everything feels beautiful,
Time to go home.
Every time I hear that word,
I reach for my phone,
and flick open the Uber app.
I can see that I am almost exactly
half-way between far West Plano
and far East McKinney, where “home” sits.
I search the app for a ride.
Walk, says the Voice.
I look up.
I turn to the East,
where home lies,
and contemplate the distance.
Home is so far away…
That’s a long. Ass. Walk.
I consider my situation:
I’m wearing a backpack,
full of books and journals.
And to top it all off, I’m also carrying a
literal tire iron, a long, large, and heavy solid metal tool
for changing tires. Because, well, that was the plan:
From this point
of my crazy day,
Uber to my car,
change the tire,
and drive it home.
WALK, the Voice says.
Ok ok…. but just….. how far is home???
I zoom out and look at the map again in Uber.
I drag a line and measure the distance
from my location to my home address.
15 miles, in a straight line.
I sigh an exhale.
I put the phone in my pocket,
turn towards the northeast,
and start walking,
cutting across some Frisco Middle School playground
and towards the foresty meadow behind it
and out into who-knows-where for god-knows-what,
on another (apparently) intuitive adventure with soul.
10 minutes into this walking-whatever,
my feet feel pretty darn heavy and I think
“wow, normally my feet don’t feel this heavy when walking”
and I look down
and whoop there it is
and I conclude that these nice fancy cowboy boots I’m currenltly wearing
would be my LAST f****** choice of urban walking/hiking shoe
for a who-knows-how-long walk across the friggin metroplex.
And, in high school
I worked at REI
in the freakin shoe department
where id rec a shoe based on
distance, elevation gain, weather, and terrain.
So. I’m just sayin.
How long this is “walk” gonna be?
And I right then
I answered my own question
for I knew that,
the cowboy boots,
simply by virtue of
being there in the first place,
means the answer is:
I am walking through a neighborhood.
Nice brick houses.
All of them kinda look the same.
I remember when all this area was just farmland.
I feel old.
up ahead in the corner-house front yard, raking leaves.
Raking leaves? That’s kinda interesting.
Don’t see that very much in March in Texas.
My follow the sidewalk and it takes me closer.
I can see (and hear) that he is Indian.
I walk closer. And I his two teenage sons, with smaller rakes,
raking the front [leafless] lawn with him. And frowning.
No one spoke.
The man eyes me, warily, as I pass.
I found it very funny. And so I chuckled.
“Afternoon!” I say.
“Quite a beautiful day, isn’t it?!” I shout with a smile.
The boys, suppressing laughter, returned one in kind.
The old man, still staring, is unmoved.
I turn the corner,
I am walking East,
along some major road.
Apartments on either side.
Some nice, some not.
I spot some interesting-looking rocks ahead,
so I stop and have a look.
These landscaping rocks look just like
the ones from Ashford. Ahhhh, Ashford.
And then I feel grief while feeling the fondness of the memory,
as I kneeled down to touch the rocks.
I know these families and formations.
And they know me.
Charlie knows them, too.
I touch many, connect with a few of them,
and place them gently in the side-pocket of my backpack.
And then I spot another.
It is large, and heavy.
I feel whiny with the weight of it,
contemplate not taking it.
I spot it, and surrender my objecting.
I reach for the stone.
I touch it, and remove it from the ground.
It is very large.
I wipe away the dirt and pour some water on it.
The stone is bright, yellow, and quartz.
Oval shaped. And it seemed to sing….
I unzip my backpack,
and place it the dark below.
I stand, and I walk.
How far have I gone?
I reach for my phone.
It feels like I’m cheating.
I look on the map.
I haven’t gone very far at all.
I exhale, and look down at my boots.
These are not fucking walking shoes.
I look at my jeans. Not the comfiest.
And all these conditions
pointing to a Mover behind them
and so I smiled
I put the phone back in my pocket.
Battery is on 1%.
I should’ve charged that thing last night.
Ahhhh. That’s no accident either.
I see what you did there.
Nice move, Universe.
This is gonna be a long. ass. walk.
Lean in and listen, the Voice says.
And so I walk.
I stop along the bridge of an overpass
to take in the view of the creek below.
I peer into the foaming murky green pool.
I search and skim for ripples and shadows
or flutters and skirttles along the banks and in the branches
but there is nothing.
I stare closer at the edges
giving this cesspool of nasty foamy sewer wash
an opportunity to boast even the skim trail of a water bug
But it did not,
and so I walked
I approach a major intersection.
I know this road.
I didnt know Coit went this far north….
Then again, I didn’t know a lot things…
….I keep walking, towards the East.