Someone, it may have been my brother who lives in Colorado, introduced me “walking rain.” When you look at a stretch of the plains in eastern Colorado, for example, you sometimes–at a distance–see sheets of slanted gray-blue rain sweeping across the grass. From sky to ground, this rain walks across the open space.
Often when I walk our dog, here in greater Atlanta, thoughts occur to me. I call these walking thoughts. They sweep across my mind, somewhat like the sheets of rain.
These thoughts also bubble up, perhaps like gas through a hole in Alaskan ice (see today’s NYTimes article about methane’s escaping from decayed plant matter at the bottom of ancient lakes). One bubble gives rise to others through association. For example, on this morning’s walk, our dog spotted a squirrel. Sensing the dog’s attention, the squirrel climbed the nearest telephone pole, then ran across on a wire just wider than a #2 pencil. Thirty feet above us, he made his way across with remarkable balance.
The idea of balance brought to mind a particular book about the golden mean. My step-son gave me the book, after he had finished reading it. Ever since that gift, I have wanted to sit down and read it, too. The book still sits unread on the shelf.
Sabbatical idea: take a year, or just part of a year, to read this and other unread books from our shelves. Although technically I am now eligible for five sabbaticals, I would happily read my way through just one. I won’t list the sabbatical reading here, but will say it covers a number of volumes and a range of genres. For the time being, I simply enjoy imagining the prospect during my walking thoughts.
p.s. For more on associative thinking, if you like, see an earlier post, called “Wired for Poetry.” Happy walking.