A Slower Gait

Today's walk had teeth. The hunger to feel my legs from the inside out was startling. For so long I have bounced my eyes away from the purple tracks marring what used to be my favorite countryside. But not today. Leaving home in the dark, I pressed my feet hard into pavement for distance and heat and to feel the muscles pull against the scars I have avoided for months. My pace confused the dog, or maybe it was the occasional whimpering and whining of old baggage whose time has come.

Eventually I walked straight into sunup – and not just the bruised sky healing itself towards light. I marched into the full orbing hemorrhage, searing my eyes and dropping my jaw. Reaching down to rub the scars, I felt the mottled tissue and thought about tattoos and cancer and the idea of physical healing and suffering. And I exhaled. Maybe for the first in weeks.

A slower gait for the woods; my presence is disturbing enough. The milkweed and corn on the fringes are mixing yellow and green, breaking in the same places like siblings sometimes do. I raise my arms above my shoulders and pretend that the dying weeds are the onlookers of a race, high-fiving my efforts to go further and deeper.

But as soon as I enter the coolness of the forest's throat, there is no more make-believe. My language forgets itself in favor of nothing. Here, I am no longer confined to the narrow band between birth and death. I am fed unto the ordinary, and digested whole. My scarred legs and bloodied knees drop the pretenses that carried me here. For I am only grateful that you waited forever for the healed me, hungry walker.