A Year in the Life, Week 14: A Walk in City, Town, or Village

I didn’t get a chance to post my Week 14 Year in the Life writing from August 2, because extra shifts at the library where I work have been eating away my precious writing Fridays. The prompt was to describe a walk in a place you went often (or something like that). I wrote about the bike trail where I prefer to bike with Syrus, although I only get to use this particular section when we have time for a “leisurely” outing, as it takes about an hour as opposed to the usual 45 minutes.

It started out prosy and then decided it wanted more poem-like line breaks.

It is not the first place I want to go in the morning, not when my eyes are gritty with sleep, my hair frizzed around my face. I don’t feel ready for it yet, as though it hasn’t been properly earned.

As the day’s tasks weigh me down—writing, working, cleaning, it stretches out in my mind, a haven beckoning me to give sore feet and a tired brain a rest.

It is not the first place I want to go in the morning, not when my eyes are gritty with sleep, my hair frizzed around my face. I don’t feel ready for it yet, as though it hasn’t been properly earned.

As the day’s tasks weigh me down—writing, working, cleaning, it stretches out in my mind, a haven beckoning me to give sore feet and a tired brain a rest.

And it’s in dusk I love it most
the way the gray concrete ribbon
turns and rolls,
first by the children in the baseball diamond,
and the teenagers sitting in the grass
mothers pushing strollers that
move to the side as I approach,
my bike beneath me, dog grinning at my side.
Tiny baby fingers like
exclamation marks: Doggie!

Four bridges in all, all over
the Big Sioux River
not so big most summers.
The large sturdy tree
stretching its boughs to shelter
the bench where I often sit to write
while joggers and dog walkers and bikers–
bent over intensely as they pedal–
rush on by.
After this, the trees recede,
fade into the background.
The prairie weeds I hate in my garden
look beautiful and natural growing here,
amidst the tall, yellow-green
prairie grasses,
and I think of my husband,
how he says, “I love walking
on prairie trail”

and how that reminds me
that all nature’s patterns are beautiful–
not just the northern pine forests I still miss
or the red rocks I long to see by sunset.

At dusk, the lack of shade matters not,
and the flat ground lets the breeze
rush across us, unhindered.
They say you can see for miles
on the flat plains–
but not here, where the winding trail
keeps its secrets,
the next bend hidden
behind tall, woody reeds.
My dog’s favorite part,
inviting a sniff or a piss.
Mine, too, for all its gentle dignity,
tall and straight and proud.

The only way home is out onto the sidewalk,
past the gas station, the world’s intrusion
as cars rush by and music blares.
All the baby rabbits dart through the grass
behind the truckers’ parking lot,
a hairpin turn that points to home
as darkness urges me on.

Then, just to make Ms. VenOsdel happy, I went one step further and did one of the extension exercises, which asked for a conversation between myself and something outside, such as fresh air. Although, mine ended up being more of a monologue. Fresh air doesn’t let you get a word in edgewise!

Extension 2: Fresh Air

Slide the porch door open
just enough to let the dog outside.
“Wait,” cries a wispy voice
“Don’t shut me out yet.”
I pause and she continues,
“At least three breaths
before you close the door,
three breaths in which to take
a little bit of the world
inside of you.

“The first breath, for the rain
that pushes me to you,
that will knock on this very door
in an hour’s time,
to announce that there’s no need
to water the garden or walk the dog.
Today is your day off.

“A second breath
for how I offer you something
sweet and pure,
though exhaust hides on the
other side of the house.
Here, here I bring only the scent
of the neighbor’s newly cut grass
and the laughter of his granddaughter.

“And the third breath
because I will never be here again
Not like this,
with just these molecules of pollen,
and this swirl of breeze.
What you’ve given me in return,
I will take as I move on
so that you will go with me
to trees and mountains
till we fly over the ocean.”

Since I made the commitment to designate a certain time in the upcoming week when I would return to extensions I wanted to do, I’ve become more realistic about whether I’ll actually get them done or not. I’m swamped this week with the library and freelance work and potentially even a family emergency. So although week 15’s extensions intrigued me, I didn’t mark any of them because I couldn’t see myself actually committing to doing them, especially since there are non-prompted backed up journal entries I’d like to write. So the review did help me see whether I’m really willing to make something a priority or not.

Although I liked what I wrote for Week 15, its nature is too personal and so I won’t be posting it here. Sorry, Internet voyeurs!

Leave a Reply