This weekend was glorious.
I walked 20 miles, something I haven’t been able to do since the pandemic started. First, because I had purchased a new pair of walking shoes and they had injured my foot, something the podiatrist said wasn’t the case but, when I bought a new pair of shoes last fall, it cured the pain that prevented me from walking. And I also hadn’t been walking because I was afraid and, in my fear, stayed inside where it seemed safer.
Saturday, I expected it to be cold and overcast, and it was beautiful, cool, and sunny instead, perfect walking weather. I was dressed a little warmly – too much fleece and down – but other than that, it was wonderful. My husband joined me, a rare occurrence, and our niece, who I rarely get to see by herself. I enjoyed hearing what she was up to, how she sees the world. And to have her quietly confide in us and know that what we talk about is a little different from what she talks about with her parents, her other uncles and aunts. To hear how, as she progresses through college, her perception of her world and her life expands. She is the first of our nieces and nephews to reach this age, and listening to her delights me.
Yesterday was another fine walk, although I dressed for Saturday’s weather and I should have worn Saturday’s clothes yesterday. Cold and overcast, with a March breeze. I raced uptown, a little late to meet an old friend on the top of North Hill. Noticing in passing that the daffodils were abloom with more promised for next weekend. We greeted each other awkwardly – we haven’t seen each other since 2019, if memory serves me right, but a good friend is one who you can pick up as if in midsentence. As we wandered through Central Park, out, across the Upper West Side, down Riverside Park, and back into the city streets to drop him off at the subway, we crossed time and space, going back to high school, to people we had known in other places. Movies we had seen together, trips he had taken, problems with our aging parents and in-laws, great cats we had known. Reluctant to let go even after hugging goodbye, we stood awkwardly on the corner and kept talking and talking. And then home, where my wonderful husband had perfected his pizza-baking skills.
How wonderful to be hungry because I had expended so much energy that day instead of because I wanted to eat off stress.
There is nothing like a long walk, without earphones, to soak up the springtime. To notice the daffodils and crocuses and, high above, raptors soaring. I saw four hawks yesterday, one with nesting material, and something else – I didn’t know what it was and it was so high I couldn’t get a good look, but it seemed larger than a hawk almost (dare I surmise) vulture-sized. No!
I needed a weekend like this, a weekend filled with friendship and exercise, to take me out of the head-space where I had been with all the world’s troubles – Ukraine, Covid, crazed politicians undoing all the good that had come before, climate change, and Benzine contaminating trusted skin-care products and who knows what else.
Nature heals all, if only for a moment.
And, oh! The cherry blossoms are just starting to bloom!