Amid the scent of earth and damp, of leaves and bark simmering in cool air, I walked.

I set out on a paved path that quickly undulated through a tree tunnel and came out on a dirt road, fragrant with the aftermath of a passionate rainstorm. Above, the canopy swayed its soothing music.

I followed the dips and hills by instinct until I once again entered that exhilarating zone where thought ceases and exalted being begins. More than once, I opened my armspan and tilted my head toward the blue, blue sky.

The quiet two-mile course was familiar to me like all things that are familiar. It recalled the leaf-padded path of a Vermont mountainside from so long ago, walking in first light among others to whom words mattered more than breathing. It evoked the careful ambience of Dog Mountain, on whose paths I seeped into the summer air, the view expanding with each ascent of elevation.

I first walked this path nearly a year ago with my aunt on a Sunday morning. Then, we doubled the distance and walked fast. And like we always have, we talked about the analytics of living.

It was on that day, after we had exhilarated our energy and sank into chairs with hot paper cups of coffee, that I realized my marriage was in its infinite end. Four days later, I drew the line with my words: We are over.

And so this morning, when I trod the path I’d walked several times before, it occurred to me like the whisper-kiss of cool air after a pelting rainstorm, that I was walking my personal path of freedom.

This dirt road, ground smooth by traffic of foot and car, in its quiet winding reverie, symbolizes the hills and valleys I took to get to where I am right now – open-faced to clear sky, arms abreast reaching as if for the distance itself.

Later, I strolled through the farmers market with my lifelong best friend, she of the dancing smiles. There was music and blueberries and handmade olive oil soaps scented with lavender. A small stream gurgled past in the trees.

I collected leeks and peaches, purple potatoes and stargazer lilies. It was a good morning, a morning filled with no doubt or questions of destiny, just the sound of the voices in the trees. The kind of morning I had yearned for all through the years.


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