I am walking, heavy boot step after heavy boot step. It feels like I’ve been walking for days, though it could be hours or merely minutes. I’m not keeping track, so who’s to say.
I’ve walked this path before and it was just as happenstance. A turn right here, a momentary back track, and here I am, tracing my way along an imaginary line, trying to find a subtle knot in the cord that will tell me that I’ve found my way.
Winter is approaching here, with patches of white already spotting the ground. One might get confused this time of year, mistake chilled fingers and freezing wind for the passing of fall, but it’s not so. Outside, life remains. Lucky leaves cling to a few trees and frost hardy porch plants show their colors while they still can, soaking up the fleeting sunlight and preparing themselves for what is to come (sudden death, or something of the same).
I am walking with purpose toward no particular place. I’m walking to clear my mind, to quiet my thoughts. I am walking and breathing and occasionally chanting to myself. None of these things work, so I continue on. I observe my fingers rubbing anxiously at the torn skin on my thumbs. This is my nervous habit. It’s my fidget, my tick. Others do this too (or so I’m told). It’s a habit that satiates some urge that swells up within me, perhaps the urge to scream or to run. In this moment, it soothes just enough. I am able to keep pace, to let my mind wander and then come back to its monotonous stirrings. I wonder if I touch my own skin to remind myself that my body is still here.
After days of what felt like endless activity, I embody the thoughts I’ve pushed to the corners of my brain. I swell with ideas unrealized, with feelings suppressed and underemphasized. I need this moment to just listen. To hear the sound of my own tromping on a rain soaked path, the sound of small twigs breaking and the weight of the sinking sun at the end of the day. The darkness envelops me and my eyes adjust, looking at nothing at everything all at once. I glance into houses through well-lit windows, catching glimpses of peoples’ belongings and their simple facts of life. I imagine for a moment having my own home (with all hope, in the not-so-distant future), and my own life on display. I imagine my own window, serving as a portal, welcoming wanderers, for just a moment, into my life.
Suddenly, I am no longer walking. My mind has begun to quiet and though my right hand still can’t find peace, I have stumbled into a new space. I’ve somehow connected the dots that are scattered amongst my thoughts. This is a new space. This is a new portal. This is a quiet.