Poohsticks

Most days, I go for a walk in the morning. And on those days, I put my headphones on and listen to an audiobook or a podcast or sometimes music, and will go for my walk and the world that unfolds around me takes a backseat t the noise coming in my ears. Most days that is what I want. It’s what I need, actually – the structure of it all. My mind needs a track to run on.

But other days, like today, I need to be in my head. I need to hear the street noise, fully notice the dog walkers, smell the fresh-cut grass, and let my mind go where it wants to.

And so this morning, I walked. No headphones. No track. I love days like this.

The sun was just up, and it was already almost 80 degrees as we go into yet another day with a heat advisory, but this route is shady, and a breeze was blowing, so it wasn’t bad yet.

The house down the road is getting its roof replaced, and I said a small prayer of safety for the roofers who will be working in full sun on a day with a heat index of 107 degrees. No wonder they were already working. I would want to get ahead of that too.

Bill is loading his truck with stuff to take to the dump. The road crew is paving the cross street and has made progress since the last time I walked this way. The house with the annoying dog that chases me the length of their fence is silent and dark – I wonder if they are even home.

I think some about how my current obsession with reading appliance reviews is really just anxiety and my fear of buying the wrong thing. Then I think about how much of my life is really just anxiety coping mechanisms, including this walk.

On the right is the house of the former Governor, and on the left is the house Willie Morris lived in when he wrote about his cat Spit McGee. I think of the joy he experienced in that house, how magically he wrote about it, and how ordinary it looks to a passer-by. Not for the first time, I think about how the job of the writer is to notice the extraordinary and draw our attention to it.

And on it goes. The leaves on the Virginia Creeper that are turning red as they spiral up the pine tree. The angry Trump voter brings his trash can to the curb and waves at me. I notice six different people walking their dogs, and reflect that when I lived in the inner city, I never, ever saw anyone walking their dog, and reflect that my life is very different than it was just 4 years ago.

I think of at least three different things to write about this week and jot them down. I stop and watch the creek drift under the bridge and play a solo game of Poohsticks.

Today is going to be a good day.

I hope it is for you, too.

Five things I thought were beautiful

I know nothing about horses except which end eats the hay. But you don’t have to know anything to watch Charlotte Fry’s winning round at the ECCO FEI World Championships and know that you are witnessing something special.

Visitors to the Milwaukee Zoo got to witness a mother giraffe give birth in full view of the crowd. Here is some social media video footage. The article says the baby was on his feet an hour after being born – the timeline for animals is crazy fast when you think that humans can take many months even to be able to balance.

Nature photographer Andy Woo’s Instagram is amazing. Like this photo making the rounds right now. Literally a once in a lifetime shot.

More than 80% of our ocean is unexplored. Entire ecosystems thrive without our knowledge, and species exist we cannot conceive of. And the sheer beauty that exists there is staggering. Like these larval fish with translucent bodies. Stunning. (Also, check out his Instagram).

I really struggle with Tim Ferris. His early writing was so smug, self-centered, and insecure that I have difficulty getting past it. I know I have readers in the tech world, so don’t @ me – I’m sure he’s a delightful guy. It’s not him, it’s me. But I’m glad I overcame my reluctance and read this transcript of his podcast interview with Anne Lamott from last year. There is so much gold here I don’t know where to start. Depression, coping, addiction, recovery, love, loss. Gold, I tell you.

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