(this was an assignment for a writing class where I had to incorporate every tense)
I try not to drive; instead, I walk. When I do, I notice things I never would have taken in if I were driving in a car or even if I had been riding my bike. But now, I see flowers. I notice signs and details. I hear quiet, even on our city streets. Most significantly; I think.
A few weeks ago, when the weather was still rainy, I saw a worm writhing in a puddle. I walked past, thinking it sad. Normally, I would walk on. And, at first, I did. But I couldn’t quite let go of the image and with each step, I felt guilty.
My son, four, is an animal rescuer. At his young age, his biggest opportunity for rescuing animal is when worms are trapped in puddles after a rainstorm. It once took us twenty minutes to walk three blocks to his daycare because he had to stop to rescue every worm, and there were at least twenty that day.
It was as if he was reminding me of this kindness when I came across this worm. Yes, I could walk on, or, I could, instead, choose kindness. No witnesses, no bigger meaning, just simple kindness. And choosing kindness felt to be a small triumph.
I have been walking for a while now. I will have been walking regularly for at least six months. I will have walked at least a hundred miles by the end of summer. I will drive again, it’s inevitable. But, I am looking now. I will know that when I was walking, I was happier. I will be able to say, “I have walked.” Because I had walked in both the rain and sunshine, I will have known that it wasn’t a phase.
Perhaps I had been walking as a way to stay present. Perhaps, it was a way to stay connected. But, no matter what, I will be walking.