A summertime walk between the storms

by | Jun 22, 2024 | All, Blog, Chip, Stories | 2 comments

Today in Upstate New York, the storms came with a vengeance and left ahead of the sun.  Chip and I always enjoyed a walk just before or after a snowstorm or thunderstorm. The quiet that falls upon unsuspecting residents is pure. The smells are unique and make the walk even better with a small Yeti of wine, port, or beverage of choice, depending on the temperature and time of day.  On this particular evening, it was 80 degrees when I stepped off my porch, and my Italian hair was no match for the humidity. I didn’t care. My earbuds were playing the hand-picked songs of our playlist I called “Friday Night,” which Chip and I would listen to when cooking or sitting by the fire at sundown. Periodically, a dance was known to break out, and the kid’s eyes would roll. (mission accomplished)

Be present when you take a neighborhood walk.

Ironically, the silence is heavy and present on these stormy evenings. There is no breeze. Few people are walking their dogs. There are no lawnmowers. The sprinkler systems sputter as they rise from the ground. My walk was a mere 2.7 miles, but I slowed my pace, took deep breaths, and observed.

I enjoy the manicured lawns and flowers flanking the porch steps. Bikes are strewn in the driveway; LAX nets appear on almost every other lawn (it’s a great day to be a warrior!). There are a few celebratory signs for college and upcoming high school graduation. I remember hanging the RIT and Alabama flags and the congratulations Chip and I received as people walked by our house on a Saturday night.

It stings to see a couple holding hands and taking a walk. I miss Chip so much, especially when we did just that—holding hands and taking a walk. It was not his favorite thing to do, but he did it for me in the hopes of a reward of Bourbon Brownies, Empty Nest Chocolate Chip Cookies, or a flourless chocolate cake. The baker in me no longer exists.

Oh, but the grills are most certainly fired up!

In the northeast, we long for the days when we can grill outside and never miss out when the opportunity presents itself. Tonight, I was treated to the unmistakable scent of hot dogs and grilled chicken, and perhaps my discerning nose was able to identify ribs! I could see the smoke and pictured the families getting ready to eat with an escape plan in case the skies opened.

Temperature changes.

It is incredible how the temperature changed as I walked through the neighborhoods. Under the trees and near wooded lots, the temperature was palatable, cool, and filled with the scent of wet grass and wood. In the sun, it smelled dry, like a driveway smells when rain evaporates. I noted the difference and committed it to memory.

Home again.

Soon, I was on my road and almost home. Miss Tillie and I will enjoy a romance novel and a glass of Prosecco on our porch. The sun is low in the sky on one side and darkening on the other. The Weather Channel warns of storms after 11 p.m. Miss Tillie will be snug in bed by then, and I will be sitting in the quiet of my house. Sometimes, the silence is deafening, but other times, it presents an opportunity to calm my mind, sit and remember. I am not sure if that is good or bad. I am thankful for my many friends who text and call me at all hours to check on me, knowing that sleep evades me, but I will eventually succumb.

So tonight, I ask that you be present, inhale the smells of summer, and listen as night falls. Take the hand of your special someone either on a walk or just sitting close. Never take it for granted. Thankfully, I didn’t; those memories are more valuable than anything else.

The fireflies are out, too. Turn your outside lights off and wonder in their magic. We are here to enjoy this gift of life, so please do not waste a second of it.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Leslie Munsell

    Your stories always come at a time when I need to read them! I walk in the mornings on the cape and I have noticed those graduation signs etc. but sometimes I am deep in thought and not present during my walk . I always say need to be present in the moment but I don’t always follow my mantra! Thank you for reminding me!❤️

    Reply
    • Karen

      Thanks for the note. It’s so easy to distracted. I bet the Cape is beautiful right now. Happy summer and see you at the wedding!

      Reply

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