Armchair Peregrinations

January 19, 2004

Today is cloudy and gray, and getting colder, but oh, what a day yesterday was! The winds blew warm and mild and great series of cloud formations came and went all day. It would be overcast one minute and then there would appear dozens of openings in the sky where the blue firmament was welcoming and heartening -- instantly, it seemed.

By the afternoon, it was mostly sunny but still the skies were cloud-filled. I went to the nature preserve with my camera and started taking photos as I began a long walk through woods and cypress swamp, along the oak tree covered trail past my special bench under a live oak, and thence to the wetlands area -- that great, vast natural arena where the sky is in full view and I can admire the birds taking off and soaring on wind thermals.

The wind buffeted me the whole time. It felt so good. Alone of course. But it was okay. I accept that this is what I have for now. I keep thinking how nice it would be to share this with someone, but I develop my photos and post them and write about my walks and so I have some chance to offer that experience to others. That's the way it is.

January 8, 2004

The big sycamore tree I pass every day going back to work on my lunch hour is now bare and stark against the blue winter skies downtown. I have been walking past it every day almost since summer when it was full and green, and it has become my tree for all seasons, that and the oak tree outside my apartment window.

This is a most beauiful sycamore tree and has long been anchored in a little oasis in the middle of the city, unperturbed by the traffic and commotion of all that surrounds it, new construction included. It is an old tree, probably turn of the century, but it's hard to tell. It's seen a lot.. No question about that.

In a couple of months I will watch the new leaves greening out on this beloved tree. I am becoming very attached to it.

January 4, 2004

It was warm and windy today, temps in the mid-70s. The leaves rustled in the big oak tree outside my window, still holding on while so many other trees are bare. I took a nice walk before going to work, savoring the spring-like conditions in January, feeling good to be out in such splendid, gorgeous weather.

Late this afternoon at sunset, I was on the beach, walking along the waterline where the waves ebbed ashore, a sweatshirt keeping me warm in the much cooler conditions beside the ocean. A near full moon shone brightly from above on the water below. I listened to the sound of the waves, thinking to myself how dear and beautiful this world is and yet how short our time here. I felt old suddenly, sensing in the distant past so many other walks along this shore, so many times alone with the ocean and shorebirds, the pelicans and gulls my only companions. For decades I have walked along this same stretch of beach. It is as much a part of me now as anything ever has been. Thinking back on it I wonder how the years have passed so swiftly now that I am in my sixth decade on this Earth.

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