Lainie's walk 4 of 4

Walking

Today, Saturday, October 9, 2021, women took the day to contemplate the lake. The sun is shining bright and cool, and the wind drives the golden leaves all the way to William Shatner’s spaceship.

The trail looks good – not too many people.

I’m walking behind a solidly built woman. She has her silver hair pulled back into a short knot.

She’s wearing gray shorts and a t-shirt.

Soon she builds up a good lead.

Every 300 yards she stops, holds her left hand up to shield her eyes, and looks out across the lake. That gesture makes her feel human to me.

Funny the things that make you feel kinship. We’re not all just walking round the lake, not just walking and talking, or running, or walking with our earbuds. We’re being here with the spirit of the lake.

And today the lake spirit is agitated – speaking to us.

Now here is a woman sitting on a bench – alone.

She’s just sitting on the bench facing east out onto the scudding waters of the lake

Auburn hair and complexion like a camellia – she’s young – and yet – willing to be alone and different.

“It’s a beautiful day,” she says as I come by.

“Glad you are enjoying it,” I say. “You look so beautiful in your parasol and your dress.”

The look of her – the turquoise, black, white, magenta, and blue makes me think of a Tiffany lamp

If Tennyson were here, she’d be a phantom witch from Camelot.

“I just came from the bank,” she says as if that explains everything.

“From the bank to the park” I say – “makes sense to me. Yes it is a beautiful day,” I say

“Catching the sunny weather before the snow next week,” she says.

“Yes – of course. That’s what I heard – snow is coming.”

I take one more look at her – parasol, silky shawl, dress, creamy skin and auburn hair.

Ah well, “Enjoy the day.”

“You too,” she says.

She smiles.

The parasol bobs.

I smile and I

I keep walking.

The woman with hair pulled back has stopped up ahead and I see her looking out again. I wonder – what does she see? Does she see the wild waves? Does she see her life?

Can she hear the message of the lake spirit? Anyway, she drops her hand and keeps on walking.

I’m not that close behind her. I’m not overtaking anyone. Sky above is blue blue blue. To the west, black cows graze under cottonwoods.

When Whitney and I pull off the road for (prolly unnecessary) social distancing with a passing family of four, I look back and I see the woman from the bench is following behind. Like me, not going at a good clip.

I keep going for another half mile, but I’m pooped- always forget to take my inhaler. Before turning back I snap the cows and the hair-pulled-back woman. She’s far away now and hard to see but she is in there at the faraway turn of the trail.

Woman from the bench is still walking. I feel embarrassed to be turning back now. But Americans have words for all situations.

“Have a great day,” she says with aplomb.

“You too.” I smile back.

Before I walk on, I snap her silhouette against the sun. You can see the shawl fluttering in the wind, her hair dancing out.

Not Tennyson but still not nothing

Whitney and I head home to our back deck, where the sun still shines and the wind finally calms down.

Was a good morning.

I must get out more.

Copyright 2021, Elaine Logan.

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