On a hot summer Saturday I took to the streets of Clifton, trying to walk out my woes. At one point during this pandemic, my pastor David Meredith suggested stomping out my anger on a walk. But it was in the high 80s, so stomping seems hard.
I head to the park near my house – Burnet Woods. This gem (and sometimes misunderstood) of a green space has been a real gift during the pandemic.
The shade of the giant trees felt like a reward after my climb up the hill to the bandstand area. Trees surround this gorgeous structure and last summer was home to Wednesday evening concerts. Kids would run and play while adults danced, toe tapped and socialized.
In early August, acorns are already falling. I stop to breathe and think about how Eddie and I would bring the boys here when they were toddlers. They loved picking up acorns and putting them in their wagon. The day of Calvin’s fateful but life-saving MRI, we did this walk to distract him and ourselves, I suspect.
Now we’re all dealing with COVID and things often feel hard and uncertain. I pick up an acorn and think, ‘Calvin is now ok. It will be ok.’ Certainly the days and months to follow were a series of highs and lows as he navigated brain surgery, chemo and recovery but he’s almost 11 now, healthy and happy.
I held an acorn and felt better. So, this is where I end my story with some advice that I know we’ll all get through this, yada yada yada but I’m not wired that way.
I walk down the hill back into the neighborhood. I see my friend Annie in her car and she pulls over. Annie emanates joy and comfort wherever she goes. Sure, she has her struggles but there’s something special and magical about her. She asked me how it was going and through my mask, I started to cry. It’s not like I forgot about the acorn and the wonder of Calvin but my problems didn’t leave in those 10 minutes. I’m not that Zen. But perhaps Annie is because standing in the hot sun, I feel better. Sometimes we just need to be heard and loved.
I walk to the local coffee shop and find my neighbor at the register. I often see this woman and her roommates walking her dog; during the shut down my entire neighborhood seemed to bond. We chatted and you know what, I felt great. Something had been restored.
Walk, acorn, Annie, tears, coffee, chit chat.
Maybe it’s my new mantra.
Stay safe friends.
Back with the books next time.