Posts Tagged ‘walking’

Up the Hill



You walk fast,

she said, and

I said, I was walking

fast to keep up

with you, and

she said, I was

walking fast to

keep up with you

and we laughed

at ourselves as

our feet found

a new rhythm,

our hearts, too.

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Even on a Monday it can happen,

you step out of the office

and instead of going to your car

or making another call or running

to the bank, your feet

and legs conspire to move you

toward the woods where after

only ten minutes you are more breath

than brain, more here than anywhere else—

water drips in the creek bed,

sunlight pushes through empty branches,

and at your sides your arms swing

as if they were made for this.

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I’m not saying we shouldn’t be angry.

Anger seems reasonable. But perhaps

we will do what I’ve heard the Inuit do—

spend the emotion on walking, walk a line

until all the anger has left our bodies.

The moment the Inuit notice the anger is gone,

replaced, perhaps, by sadness or fear,

compassion or just a quietness,

they mark that spot with an object

to show the extent of their anger.

And perhaps, if we’re lucky, when we walk

this way, it will be a long enough walk

that we arrive at each other’s doors,

object in hand, and when the object

leaves our grip, we’ll be able to use our hands

to greet each other, touch each other’s faces,

point to the horizon to all the other places

we might choose to walk now together.

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walking four blocks with my mother,

every step an arrival,

every step a reason to praise

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Before you slog the next mile,

God sits beside you

and rubs your feet and ankles,

tells you jokes,

and spills his heart to you—

the next day,

still exhausted,

you find yourself laughing

grateful to have feet.


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It is not that the path
has disappeared. It is only
that, stunned with grief
and kicked by fear,
we sometimes lose our will
to put one foot
in front of the other.
But we are not lost.
Already in the dark
we have found each other.
What astonishes is
that there are so many of us,
and already
we are building bridges
made of light.
The world shakes,
we stumble
and we help each other rise,
and now it is time
for us again to put one foot in front of the other—
not to escape what frightens us
but to walk unflinchingly
toward the messy center of things.
The path we choose now
is not one we’ve walked or even seen before,
the path is one that appears
beneath our feet
with each step,
and we persist,
travelers in the frozen dark
who begin to see the light as it shapes the horizon
and know, though it’s cold,
that the change we dream of
has already begun to arrive.

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Beside the moss
beside red rock

we walk, we walk
to the falls and talk

and long, long after
you have gone,

the empty space
you left near me

walks on with me
walks on.

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Love says, ‘I am everything.’
Wisdom says, ‘I am nothing.’
Between these two my life flows.
–Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

It is enough today
to walk. The road
is gravel. To the left,
dry fields. To the right,
dry grass and sage. Cottonwoods
line the wash. The time
was once when steeper
was better and faster
was the only way.
I was not happier then,
only faster. I still
throw my arms
up to the sky
and say here,
here I am, here I am.
My heart, seeing
the crow silhouetted
against the sun
still rises, nearly bursts
with strange joy.
Oh wings!
The old apple tree
beside the road
drops a misshapen apple
into my hand. Yellow
and tart, it is sweeter
than the bitterness of longing.
I eat it all.

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That was the day
that she stopped the car
at the edge of the highway,
opened the door,
got out and began to walk.
Past the ditch full of cattails
and blue plastic bags,
past the yellow mail box,
past the house with the royal blue roof,
past the dead cat,
past the empty cardboard box,
she did not look back,
past the man digging in his field
who remarked it was too hot
to walk, and she nodded and
kept on walking.

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Tonight I am too blood tired
to pretend I am happy.
Too tired to hold up any
face. Outside the world is slow-
ing to a stiller version
of itself. I feel myself
stilling, but not ending, not
yet. I once heard a story
about a man who ran bare
foot through a cornfield in fall
and woke the next day with holes
in his feet. For years, I have
dreamed it was me, and could I
go on walking after that?
Tonight the word is yes. Tired
as I am, the drive to walk
and walk and fall in love with
the world—though harsh, though bristled—
is stronger than any urge
to give up. If I give up
anything, it’s this crazy
compulsion to please. I am
tired, too blood tired to pretend
anything, but not too tired
to keep on walking, walking.

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