I’m taking a workshop this weekend: a creativity workshop with a longtime idol of mine, Julia Cameron, who is probably best known for her inspirational book The Artist’s Way. I’ve read other books of hers at well. When I heard she was teaching a workshop, I was all over it.
She gave us homework.
I contemplated skipping at least part of it. The rebel in me doesn’t necessarily follow directions, but then I forced myself. I noted the resistance, and then I forced myself. After all, I had paid good money to attend. Perhaps I should listen to her instruction. So I came home from showing a house on the other side of town, soothing myself on the ride home with how upset my stomach was and how I’d be perfectly within my rights to forgo the walk she’s assigned.
But when I got home, I realized it was that magically time of day, just before dusk when the light crystallizes why they call New Mexico “the land of enchantment.” It only needed to be 20 minute walk. A mile. I can easily walk a mile. I remembered it was only .6 miles to my girlfriend Laura’s house just down the street. If I walked there and back it would take a little better than the 20 minutes assigned.
At first I was all resistant. Stupid old bat. I only like walking in parks and I don’t feel like driving to one (even though there is one within walking distance). I don’t want to walk more than 20 minutes. I still have writing to do. And there’s other homework, too! I have to write a letter to myself from my inner 80-year old and then another from my inner 8-year old. Stupid walk. Oh well. I’ve been saying I need more exercise since Brandi and I have barely seen the inside of Planet Fitness lately. Both of us too busy.
About ten minutes into the walk, I notice a group of women gathered in the street looking up at the light pole. There’s a bird of some sort perched atop it. They’re taking pictures and trying to ascertain what their sighting meant. “He’s guarding your house,” one of them proclaims.
“My mom would say this means something, I just don’t know what,” says the owner of the house with the mascot. I can’t see it well, but the beak makes me think it’s some sort of hawk.
Really need to learn my wildlife here.
Maybe this walk isn’t so bad after all. I start to notice things. How have I lived on this street for two and half years and noticed so little? I chide myself for having been in New Mexico for going on thirteen years and still not knowing the vegetation. In New England, I knew the names of all sorts of plants and trees.
I find myself wondering what this tree is that I see that looks like a maple but how these round bulbs hanging from them to spread seeds??? Not like the whirligigs I’m used to seeing on maples. I wonder what they are.
I notice people’s yards. The few scraps of rubbish that are scattered here and there. Not overly unsightly but I thought most of the houses were better maintained than that (except ours, of course. Our yard is a magnet for blown around debris. We live in the bend of the almost cul de sac – the three streets form a horseshoe. So no through traffic just the folks that live there. It’s a middle/upper middle class neighborhood. Nothing ostentatious, but nice houses, built in the late seventies and early eighties.)
We’ve lived in three different houses in the city. This is the most modest of the three and my favorite neighborhood. I should walk it more.
Luckily, my girlfriend appears to be out, so no temptation to stop and visit. I don’t see her enough, even though she only lives just down the street.
On my way back, I notice another of the tree that looks like a maple to me. The whole tree is filled with them! I look up and notice a face in the bark. I take its picture. Must find out what kind of tree it is.
The air is sweet. There’s a gentle breeze and I remember why I love New Mexico. I really need to spend more time outdoors. It’s so inviting. Not like Massachusetts with bugs that feast on flesh and spoil the spring. I’ve always loved the fall, but in New Mexico, I love the spring.
I’m home now; sitting on the back patio with my laptop, enjoying the temperate night air. The sky is nearly dark. My heart is happy and my soul feels nourished.
Perhaps the old bat knows what she’s doing after all.
Namaste, my friends, Namaste.