I didn’t want to go for a walk.
But I wanted to eat a bunch of Macaroni and Cheese, so the walk felt necessary.
Sometimes you have to act without asking yourself if you want to. Sometimes that practice is dangerous, like when you’re struggling to want to live, but sometimes it parents you right out of the house and into the fresh air against your will.
“Can you please stop smelling everything?” I asked Arlow at the start of the walk. I was grumpy and tired and I just wanted to be in my pajamas in bed. “I don’t actually want to be out here. I want to go home. Can we please hurry this process along?” I asked him.
But my dog, my forever-curious lover of life, refused to share my goal. Every plant, shadow, hole in the dirt, and bloom seemed to beckon him: “Notice me!” He is forever reminding me sometimes the journey really is the best part, whereas I am always so quick to rush to check things off my to-do list.
And so I tried to still my inner sense of hurry and impatience. I tried to see things through his eyes.
And something happened as I passed by the same twisted trees and stacked rocks I have passed by many times before- I stopped feeling bored.
I felt my legs working to propel me uphill. My heart beating. My body reminding me, “I am ALIVE.”
I noticed how, even in a few days’ time, plants had started growing over the trail. “How do you already look different, trail?” I asked, as I surveyed the ever-expanding green before me.
I counted the snails we passed and listened to the river rushing by on my left and I walked further on the trail than I had ever walked before because, right when I was considering turning around, I saw golden sunlight up ahead. “Look, Arlow!” I said, “Sunlight!” And so we climbed, seeking out the golden light of the fading sun.
At church on Sunday, I took home three flowers. Daisies? I don’t know. My plant knowledge is limited. I placed them in a vase on my kitchen windowsill when I got home. I adjusted them so that they were facing me, so that I could smile at them while I did dishes or waited for the tea kettle to whistle.
But they, like Arlow, also had a lesson for me. By day’s end yesterday, I noticed all three of them had turned to face the sun.
They were seeking the light.
Because they knew their life depended on it.
And they don’t panic as the sun goes down. They don’t wither or fade or droop. They just stay there, poised, staring heavenward.
Because they know, somehow, that this is just the way of things- daylight fades into darkness. Summer fades into winter. There is an ebb and flow. But in it all, through it all, we are held.
Darkness–winter–it isn’t how the story ends. The sun comes up.
The sun always comes back up.