Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Long Walk

Yesterday our town held a small strawberry festival.  We were looking for something to fill the hour before dinner, so Reese and I headed out.  On foot.

It was only a mile and a quarter each way, but as our feet pounded the pavement I realized that she and I normally don't walk this far together.  We regularly walk up and down our street, to the bus stop, and into and out of grocery stores and parking lots, but we rarely take a long walk just for the pleasure of it.

There wasn't much at the festival: some lawn chairs haphazardly positioned, a few blankets spread out for those attendees early enough to snag one of the spots in the shade, a band comprised of three eclectically dressed musicians playing cover songs, and a table where you could build your own strawberry shortcake with local strawberries, melting ice cream, and an assortment of cakes.

We didn't stay very long.

I was too eager for the long walk back home.  I loved how freely Reese swung her arms while she walked, how she picked dandelions and crown vetch that grew alongside the road for me, and how we could discern which neighbors were grilling their dinners just by breathing deeply.

I altered my pace from my typical purposeful stride.  Reese seemed to step to the left or the right as often as she stepped forward.  Her haphazard manner lengthened the walk but added interest as she discovered a chipmunk on someone's sidewalk or pointed out a cardinal in a tree.

I've driven these roads hundreds of times, but as we slowed our pace and walked I noticed details I had never absorbed in the past -- a shaded garden, a well-built fence, a unique garage door, an American flag covering a front window.  I even saw a house that I swear I've never laid eyes on before.

All this in just a one and a quarter miles.  I wonder how much we'd discover if she and I walked even farther.

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