Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Finding a Walking Partner

Miranda and I take early morning walks. Her children are asleep, Richard is getting ready for work, and we can circle the neighbourhood for an hour in any direction.

The first time we walked, we stopped in at West Campus Park. West Campus Park is such a bland name for a mostly natural space that gives a view of the brow of Calgary’s glaciated valley and adds a view of the Rockies if a person can just turn their head just 45 degrees.

Three days ago, I was taken by the dry dusty smell of the fall prairie grasses. The plants have reached their maximum height, a perimeter of them mowed, just by the paved paths that criss-cross the natural grassland. There was only one minor complaint about our trip. Miranda said she didn’t notice while we were out walking, but when she got home, she had blisters.

No blisters for me. I had time to noticed the difference in the air here in Alberta as we walked, trying to fill my lungs deeply with the smell of the dry autumn leaves. Not that humid wet smell of B.C., the smell where Rebecca makes us stop and breathe in the sweet scent of wet cedar. Here it is the dry smell of the bark of trembling aspen and the smell of that dust that grows on the bowls oftrees, the dust that you can rub on your face and that will prevent sunburn.

But the weather turned around and Sunday morning was snow – so much forecasted that we pulled up the tomato plants and covered the BBQs. Miranda and I walked earlier than we had the morning before. We were still in the dark, the rain falling, sometimes making its appearance as little bits of snow. I was soaked by time we got home but we hadn’t been in a downpour. We were walking in that mist that clings to the lenses of your glasses, the wetness in the whisps of hair that half blow my face, drive there by the Chinook wind.

Mary told me that she likes to read Michael stories. There are plenty of them. For a starter, Richard knows he shouldn’t have done this. But he did. He taught Michael how to pull down on the handle of my back door and then give the door a mighty shove with his think little shoulder. Thus I have a little boy in the house often. One who wants me to come out and play dirt with him. He brings two diggers, offering to share, hoping that one of the toys will tempt me to join him in the fine silt that rims the west back corner of his house. I try to get him to double up with me: play and work. I want to dig all of the weeds up before winter comes. A person can’t be away from their home for three months without having a lot of yard work facing them everytime they step outside. So I talk Michael into playing in another dirt patch – the one I am creating by taking out the bags of weeds.

He is fine with playtime somewhere. That is what Michael likes. Just a little company in the dirt.


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