Monday, September 19, 2011

Walking Naked

Leaving the Garmin and the headphones at home gave me the opportunity to walk without constantly thinking about my pace, the mileage, what song was playing. Instead, I was treated to the sounds of the neighborhood and beyond as I walked.

Two blocks away, someone in a garage brought out the rata-tat-rata-rata-tat-tat of the drums. Not far beyond the drummer, two groups of young men were circled up on the field of the elementary school to play ultimate frisbee. A deep voice yelled out, "Zig zaggy zig zaggy." And the group answered, "Oy, oy, oy." This they repeated three times then ended it with a raucous, "Whewwwwwww!" One member of the other group took exception to the enthusiasm and sneered, "Team cheers are so ten years ago. Get with it."

As I continued on, I heard the city bus coming up behind me. I've learned their unique sound signature from the days commuting to school and the bus following me down the street every now and then. A low-pitched roar indicates the bus is coming to a stop. A high-pitched whine let's me know it's accelerating. While I haven't taken the city bus in quite a few years, I always keep it in mind for that just-in-case moment when I might need it.

At my turn around point, I heard the chitter of the starlings sitting overhead on the power lines. In between the chitter an occasional musical whistle floated onto the evening air. I thought about Annie Dillard describing the starling in her wonderful book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. More a nuisance than a welcomed visitor at the bird feeder, the starling is the odd bird out because, well, they aren't all that pretty and they stink, literally. The story behind their arrival to the United States is very interesting, but the bird itself isn't so interesting.

On my return home, the ultimate frisbee players were gone from the field next to the elementary school, replaced by young girls playing soccer, their parents dutifully set up on the sidelines, sitting in the ever favorite fabric folding chairs. I passed the drummer in the garage who was still rata-tat-tatting away. As I walked the last block towards home, an acorn plunked against the sidewalk just in front of me, its cap splitting off and landing in the grass. I opened the front gate, the clasp tinking as I lifted it away from the small bar that keeps it in place, and was happy that I had walked naked.

1 comment:

J said...

Love, love, love it!
Walking Naked is a good thing. Also a great exercise for a writer.