Walking is my time. When I walk, my brain slows down for once. I often feel like I have thousands of thoughts running through my mind, and when I am out walking (or hiking), my brain quiets down. I am able to process the thoughts and filter through them. Sometimes, if I’m very lucky, my brain just focuses on the scene unfolding in front of me. This stems back to my college years. I would go out after dark with nothing more than my messenger bag filled with composition notebooks, pens, and a pack of cigarettes. Sometimes, I would sit in the middle of a walk and transcribe my thoughts, but more often than not, the journey would become my meditation. It was a silent muse sneaking in through the spaces of stillness. It forced me to concentrate on the little things and no longer focus on the thousands of things that littered my brain during the day. These midnight strolls usually led me through fields and past brick classroom buildings out beyond the schoolyard. I felt free. I felt most like myself when I was walking at night. There was no one around to judge me. I haven’t thought of those midnight walks in years, but I have been talking to a friend about the secret joys of isolation and late nights.
I’ve been reminiscing a lot lately about who I was, which leads to thoughts about who I want to be. I want to be the type of girl who goes for walks after hours. A girl who can get lost in her own mind and wonder at the beauty of things. Since this summer, I have sought to be more than I am. To pick up where I left off. But sometimes, it feels as though I don’t know where I left off, and I forget to search.
This poem is an ode to the searching, the wondering, and the wandering walks after the sun sets.
Walking & Wondering
It is late now.
(Sleep quiets your speaking,
slows your breathing to a rhythmic hum.)
The neon signs are dim.
It is only the sounds of nature now.
The swish of the blades of grass under my feet,
the faint whisper of an infinite night.
As the hours creep on under my careful watch,
my mind begins to travel,
slowly unspooling like a ball of twine
marking the path before me.
(Hansel and Gretel had their bread crumbs
It just so happens mine are in the abstract
and theirs-the concrete.)
I wonder about the nature of beasts,
what makes one man meek,
the other a monster.
I wonder why these dreams haunt me.
I wonder what makes a man forget her name
but another vow to protect her for the rest of her days.
I walk deeper into the night,
watching the satin expanse of sky
I wonder what creates sparks in your soul.
(Is it the same flame that impassions mine?)
I wonder if I were to give in to these reckless abandonments,
who would be the first to notice?
Who would be the first to care?
Why is it that these midnight walks open my soul
to depths unexplored during the brightness of day?
I don’t mean to tell you all these words.
I don’t mean to let my guard down,
but something about you leaves me breathless.
(You are the satin expanse of sky,
and perhaps I am the mercury pinpricks cutting the cloth
like diamond brooches piercing through the navy blue.)