Now that the endless rain has, in fact, ended, and now that the weather has changed to something altogether more agreeable, I've had the pleasure of resuming my daily walks.
From the middle of February until the middle of March — during that most peculiar drought — I tried to walk every day. My goal was ten thousand steps each day (which, with my stride, is five miles). I fell short, of course, but I did maintain an average of fifty thousand steps each week.
My goals are more modest currently. With the pleasant weather, I'd like to take some pleasant walks. I want my strolls to be relaxing and not a chore. I want to take time to notice the world around me.
To that end, Jason Gingerich and I have been taking walks through the countryside together. He and I meet midway between our offices (a half mile for each of us), after which we walk another half mile before turning around. We each get a two-mile walk, one mile (twenty minutes) of which features shared conversation.
I enjoy observing the natural world, what little I know of it.
For example, there's a family of small black birds (actual blackbirds, perhaps?) that lives in one of the trees here at Custom Box Service. When I start my walks, and when I'm returning, these little black birds swoop at me in greeting. They harry me. They chit chit chit as they dart to-and-fro. It's bizarre, but fun.
Jason and I are curious about the plants we see. Most of them are unknown to us. We ought to know them, but if we do, we've long since forgotten what they were called. There's a tree with yellow-green foliage that looks for all the world like my conception of a locust, except that there are no thorns. There's a field of flowering greens of some sort: beans, perhaps?
Yesterday, there was a dead cat in the road, its body twisted and torn. Two other cats sat nearby, under a tree, watching the body. Were these siblings holding a vigil? Friends waiting for the dead cat to wake and play? Rivals who had succeeded in some sort of cat assassination? What do animals feel or think when a close companion vanishes? Toto has never been the same since Tintin died. She was forlorn for weeks after his death; now she's just a bitch.
Today, at the oak grove near Jason and Naomi's house, I watched a squirrel cross the road s-l-o-w-l-y, with little rabbit-like hops. "That's strange," I thought. "The squirrels at our house move in quick dashes. I wonder if this squirrel is old."
Indeed, this squirrel was old. I watched him make a nimble hop across the culvert to the nursery field beyond. He stopped to watch my approach. I stood across from him, only a few feet away. We stared at each other. He was bald. He had no fur, except on his tail. His skin was old, and grey, and wrinkled. This squirrel was a scabrous little rodent, but I liked him.
Jason ambled up. "I recognize him," he said. "Naomi and I saw him the other day; he was sitting on the fence when we walked by."
We left the old fellow in peace, strolling away under the noonday sun.
On this day at foldedspace.org
2004 — Observations I'm the salesman while Tony's in Indiana. Today, while out and about, I observed poor bike riders, a man with a cockatiel, and myself behaving poorly. Also, we're watching Colonial House.
2003 — The Architect Already I can see the chain reaction, the chemical precursors that signal the onset of emotion, designed specifically to overwhelm logic, and reason. An emotion that is already blinding you from the simple, and obvious truth.
— Killing Time Another stack of links for you to play with.
— Agony In which I whine.
2001 — Moreover Another list of links. I'm playing with news feeds from Moreover. The SciFi Channel is planning a Red Mars miniseries. Internet radio stations.