March 27, 2007
Did I ever walk the morning streets at twenty,
my limbs streaming with a purer joy?
— Adrienne Rich, b. 1929
There was nothing extraordinary about today. It was just a Tuesday, and not even a Tuesday that I was going anywhere or doing anything special. Ron went out to fly his radio controlled planes in the warm and windless morning. That changes the energy in the house and I sat at the kitchen table and wrote in longhand for about two hours. The prompt from A Writer’s Book of Days was “there are memories underfoot.” I started writing about places I’ve done a lot of walking — Millersville and Lancaster, where I spent my undergraduate days, Dublin, where I lived one summer in a suburb south of the city and took a bus downtown every day, walking from the Post Office to the Winding Stair Bookshop on Ormond Quay. I spent my mornings writing at a table where the air was thick with the fragrance of the soup of the day, and then walked up to the museum on Parnell Square where my fiction classes took place.
After a few hours I needed a break, and since the light and the air were fairly warm, and I’d been writing about all this walking, I decided to go down to my place by the river, seen at left. This is an area in the north end of the city, a few blocks from where I grew up. I like to walk here — the terrain is flat and the trees and other plantings are lovely to look at.
And there are lots of benches. I sat on this bench when I was fifteen, the summer I read Anna Karenina. I have sat on this bench with many of the people on this earth I truly love. And when I walk here I bring with me the love and the care I feel for others, and my sojourn here becomes a kind of praying. I guess it’s fair to say that I never come to this spot nor really sit on this bench alone.
Today I brought with me the joy that has been building in me for the past four months or so, since the death of my friend Michael set me to taking a hard look at the ways I was moving and being in this world. I’ve made changes, mended fences, reached out to new friendships.
I am streaming with joy.