Winter Walk on a White Morning

Detroit in December: Snowy streets, two layers on top and bottom, the thickest wool mittens and the freshest air between my lips. Walking on the unplowed streets engages the muscles I’d forgotten I had. Like walking on a California beach.

San Diego in summer: Barefoot on the just-wet sand, glistening ocean pebbles glimmering with sea salt. Walking along the beach with the ocean as my companion, engaging muscles I’d forgotten I had.

Detroit in December: The perfect silence of a morning. Finally, I get to immerse in it. And then, the white-noise crush of highway traffic I can’t see but can just barely here. Lulling me back into my own thoughts, my own heart.

San Diego in summer: The roar of the ocean becomes a white-noise backdrop for my bright-sun hike up the sandy trails. Overlook the crashing waves, except from that height, they’re as threatening as bathtub water. Two women in bikinis on paddle boards stand up confidently behind the crest of the waves. You have to paddle past the swell to get to the calm, knowing it’s out there, trusting it is.

Detroit in December: My little boy in the bathtub on a dark, dark night. It’s dark when I wake and dark when I sleep, but my soul shines with whitest light, like the new snow reflecting the day. For him, it’s a landscape of water exploration. Blowing bubbles. Playing with toys. The new house will have no bathtub. Enjoy it while you have it.

Bali in March: Half a world away, you can’t worry about work. You can’t even connect to it. The tropical sun lingers long in the day and at night, the powerful rains beat open the wood-frame windows. A glisten of sweat is OK; poolside, sipping from a coconut with a straw, and in the morning fresh juice to complement the freshest breakfast. Fresh, fresh, fresh. Everywhere I look. A man smiles, and when I point it out, he says, “What reason is there not to be happy?”

The poetry of life. It’s everywhere, if you care enough to look.

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