Prompt for Stream-of-Consciousness Saturday: any type of movement
Walking. Steadily walking down the path of the Mountains to the Sea trail. Two feet, clad in hiking shoes, step onto the dirt, carefully avoiding tree roots. In some places, the path is muddy: someone’s dog has burrowed into the trail here. I grimace and walk on. It’s hard for me to continue walking steadily. Steadiness just isn’t my strong suit. Today, I have my cell phone with me, and a curious red mushroom growing by the side of the path catches my eye. No one is here to disapprove of my taking a photo, so I snap a quick shot. Will I post it on Instagram later? Who can say?
Lately, I have wearied of posting on Instagram and Facebook. Something that someone said at a Christmas party made me realize that I am probably oversharing the details of my life. I don’t want to be that person—that individual flooding everyone’s Facebook feed with too many pictures. Is that why I have backed off? Still, that doesn’t explain why I’m not taking pictures; it only answers the question of why I’m not posting pictures as frequently.
Quite honestly, it just isn’t a very picturesque time of year. Yesterday, as my son and I were driving to the chess tournament, there was a wonderful misty atmosphere on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was raining just the tiniest bit. The greyness of the air and the loneliness of the road fit perfectly with the passage in Anne of Avonlea that David and I were listening to: Anne and Diana had taken a wrong turn on their walk to have tea with someone who lived four miles away, so they end up at the gate of Miss Lavendar Lewis, who invites them to tea.
As a side note, how remarkable it seems that Anne and Diana think nothing of walking four miles to have tea with a friend. If Anne’s sons in later books are old enough to fight in World War I, then this book must be set in the late 1800s—perhaps about 1890? Victoria is still the queen, I believe. What kind of shoes are Anne and Diana wearing, I wonder? Surely their shoes aren’t as comfortable as my hiking shoes, yet they don’t complain of their feet hurting. Presumably, they aren’t wearing kid slippers: probably they are wearing sturdy boots?
I envy them their walk through the wooded lanes of Prince Edward Island. Visiting Prince Edward Island has long been an ambition of mine. I wonder if the geography is similar to that of Mount Desert Island in Maine—i.e., a combination of rocky cliffs and ferny woods? I still retain strong memories of our first trip to Maine back in 1997 and our walk along the carriage trails in Acadia National Park. Perhaps I can easily recreate the scene in my mind because I’ve scanned in some photos from that trip. When I close my eyes, I can see the broad trail and our three young children: the five-year-old, the three-year-old, and the one-year-old. The baby would have been in a stroller; presumably, the stroller would have navigated the terrain of the trails well enough.
The ferns stand out most from that experience. At that point, we hadn’t done much hiking around Asheville, given the ages of our kids. Now I’m aware that we have a lot of ferns here, too. But the ferns of Acadia seemed magnificent then. The children were so fresh-faced and adorable, although certainly they had strong opinions of their own, even then. Our oldest daughter undoubtedly did—and still does!
Taking children for walks has been one of those activities that has sometimes gone well and sometimes gone poorly. What do you do if your child doesn’t want to go on a walk? The physical activity aside, I’ve always liked to see walks as a pleasant family activity. How much less pleasant the walks become if you have an unwilling person in your party.
My imaginary walk is alone, so at least there is no danger of anyone spoiling the walk with reluctance to be present. In real life, however, I would not walk on the Mountains to the Sea Trail alone, although that is probably an excess of caution on my part (nothing new there). Walking alone on an isolated trail with woods on either side isn’t as safe today as it was in the time that L. M. Montgomery was writing. I wish there hadn’t been incidents of people being attacked or approached by unsavory characters on the MST in recent years. It’s sad that I don’t feel safe walking alone there. In college, I loved to walk alone on the roads and trails near campus. Covenant College is situated on top of beautiful Lookout Mountain, and there was a “burned-out house,” as we called it, not far away. I often used to sit there with my journal and stare off an overlook at a quarry far in the distance.
I don’t do enough walking these days. I’m a little late for a New Year’s Resolution to go for a walk every day, but what is it that’s so magical about January 1 for making self-improvement resolves? Hereby I resolve that I will try to walk for at least 15 minutes every day for the rest of 2018. My walking doesn’t have to be steady, and I hope it isn’t always solitary. Surely walking and talking with a good companion is one of life’s great pleasures. How fortunate I am to live in a place where there are so many beautiful places to walk (although most of them do require a drive first). Walking is the right speed for this middle-aged mother. I’ll let you know how it goes!
And if I am alone on my walks, Anne’s experience gives me hope that I, too, though alone, might not be lonely. When Anne returns to visit Miss Lavendar, she walks the four miles by herself:
[O]n this particular day it seemed as if December had remembered that it was time for winter and had turned suddenly dull and brooding, with a windless hush predictive of coming snow. Nevertheless, Anne keenly enjoyed her walk through the great gray maze of the beechlands; though alone she never found it lonely; her imagination peopled her path with merry companions, and with these she carried on a gay, pretended conversation that was wittier and more fascinating than conversations are apt to be in real life, where people sometimes fail most lamentably to talk up to the requirements. In a “make believe” assembly of choice spirits everybody says just the thing you want her to say and so gives you the chance to say just what you want to say. (L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea)
Although I wrote a post for Stream-of-Consciousness Saturday in response to Linda’s unusually open prompt—any type of movement—-I wanted to try again. After reading some of the free-form posts that others wrote in response to her prompt, I felt dissatisfied with my first attempt, which wasn’t very organic. While my son battled his way through a round of chess yesterday, I found myself double-dipping with Linda’s prompt. Look for Linda’s weekly post containing the prompt for SoCS on Fridays at her blog.