Watson and I went for a walk.
His therapist, April – whom Watson accuses of being 15 years old, has been trying to talk him into walking for months now. “Exercise is the single best…blah, blah, for your body and mind…blah, blah, outside has the added benefit… blah, blah, nature…blah, blah, study after study… blah, blah, blah.”
“I feel bad every appointment when she asks me if I’ve done it.”
We both quit taking long walks out in nature within a couple of weeks of dear Rumsfeld’s death. For 10 years Watson walked him every morning (they watched the sunrise together) and I walked him every evening, while the sun set over the miles-wide county water retention feature at the end of our block. We pretty much had the rotation of the earth noted, in case anyone needs to argue about it.
But the two of us walking together is a rare occurrence indeed. Our circadian rhythms are diametrically opposed. Watson is a morning person and I don’t really get up to speed until noon. I think mine is related to transitions. As I have mentioned elsewhere, I have trouble with transitions. I need a long runway (or hefty squirt of adrenaline, dopamine or oxytocin) to switch gears. Watson does it effortlessly. I have always been jealous. I admire it. It was what I prayed for when I was a child, just as Sister Mary Judgement had lectured into me as I sat with my hands folded on my wooden desk, with 25 of my first grade peers.
“When your mother tells you to get up, you are to jump out of that bed like it was on fire!”
Parents were to be obeyed instantly. It was a commandment, “Honor thy father and mother,” and I wanted so desperately to be a good girl. Jesus (touted as the best, most loving, kindest hero in the history of history) had been tortured and killed because of misbehaviour such as mine. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a cynical bone in my little body at 6 years of age. I had no protection, what those nuns told me imprinted on my eager brain like ink soaking into dry paper.
It was a very different story 10 years later. William had abandoned his nuclear family, abruptly and inelegantly, and I was PISSED OFF. No authority figure had a raindrop’s chance in the firestorm that was my anti-theist psyche of getting me to do what they told me to. But, again, that’s a different story.
Under it all, under the self-acceptance, under the science, under the enormity of my own will lies a little girl who is afraid of lying in bed too late in the morning. She KNOWS it is just simply wrong.
Still, getting out of bed in the morning is the hardest thing I do every day. The next hardest is falling asleep.
Back to our walk… we stepped outside our backdoor into the long evening shadows of the forty acre field behind our back fence. The field is a neighborhood water retention feature but it is generally filled with wildflowers and prairie grasses.
Water retention is a huge deal here on the gulf coast (as it may be everywhere for all I know – I’ll look that up next time I’m in research mode. Civil engineering is really quite fascinating.)
The walk was my idea. Now that I am writing again and have a fabulous new laptop, I often sit at the kitchen table to write instead of plugging that bad boy into the monitor array at my desk.
As I sat at the table, the sun low in the spring sky, the words not coming fast enough, I determined NOW would be the best time. Before I could talk myself out of it, I asked Watson if he would take me for a walk. He gave me a deliberative, only slightly suspicious, look and finally answered, “ok.”
We had to put on our shoes and find our hats and pandemic approved face masks and decide, no, we would not take along the new binoculars or the good camara or a bag for picking up trash.
And FINALLY we walked down the path, opened the back gate and entered the wonderland that is the back field. I walked up and down the decorative landscaped hills and he stayed on level ground. We came together whenever we were compelled to discuss something, a bug or a shrub or a cloud. We share a grateful wonder for the world outside when the weather, the light and the density of neighbors (none) is just right. We walked twice as far as we initially promised each other we would and I loved it so much I wrote a post about it.