I wrote this blog post 39 times in my head that morning.I hurried past the school and up the hill. Slow. Down. What’s. The. Rush? You. Aren’t. Some. Teenager. You. Don’t. Like. A. Rushed. Commute. So. Why. Rush. The. Walk?I listened to the wind, took longer strides, felt the sway of my hips as the muscles moved my legs, one after the other. I thought of piston fluid. I slowed down. My breathing slowed. I looked up; back east, pretty much everyone used to look at the ground when they walked. I don’t know why but for me, it was always with the desire to find a piece of money.Once when I lived in South River, just outside New Brunswick in Jersey, I was walking opposite my apartment and saw a dollar bill. I grabbed it and up ahead saw another. And another. And another. All told I think I scored about six or seven dollars that day. Joy of my miserable life at the time.I wrote this blog post 48 times in my head that morning.Looking up as I walked my neighborhood now helped me feel the straightening and elongation of my spine. I could see the day around me, admire it. I heard the birds, noticed homes and landscaping that I had missed for ages. I tried to only glance down to avoid landmines of poop left by those who refused to curb their animals.I listened to the wind. Slow. And. Steady. Will. Get. You. To. The. Top. Without. Stopping. What’s. The. Rush?As I looked up and ahead, I thought of Lonely Mountain, where Smaug lives. Might there be a Kingdom under the Mountain waiting for me?I felt myself walking faster and as I did, I hunched over and looked down. That’s. Not. Good, the wind said.I slowed again, this time noticing I was about three blocks from the top. I hadn’t stopped, except to pause at the corners in case there were drivers in too much of a hurry to give the pedestrian right of way. The hill is steep at this point and I slowed more. From where I began at the lower part of the street, it is at least a 7% grade. Maybe more for those last three blocks. I felt my age, felt my aches and pains. I felt old. You. Aren’t. Old. The wind was whispering again, encouraging me forward and upward. You. Are. Sensible. The. Top. Will. Be. There. Whether. You. Walk. Or. Run. I looked up as I approached the end of the sidewalk, marking the top of my Lonely Mountain.It was at this spot where I took the photo that started this writing.I wrote this blog post 64 times in my head that morning.I turned and saw that I had made it to the top without stopping. I hadn’t rushed, I hadn’t been out of breath. Yet my muscles yearned for rest as if I’d taken a run. I turned and headed toward home but as I neared the first corner, the wind spoke: The. Way. Is. Not. Direct.Life is not direct. When I left home at 18, I never could have imagined that I would have experienced 1/32nd of the things I have in the many years since. So many tears, such loss, such triumph, such despair, such joy, such sadness, such amusement. I turn left and wandered through the neighborhood. One man paused to give me a weary ‘hello’, the sweat glistening off his forehead from his exertion at washing his car. I continued downward until it was just the wind and I again.Look. Up. Look. Ahead. Take. It. Slow.I talked to twin dogs — ‘Hey babies’ I called — who barked at me from behind a fence; they seemed confused that I did not rush away. But I was listening to the wind and taking it slow. Instead of taking the straight way down and to the right to get home, I turned right at the next block.Toward the end of the way, I happened to look down:I wrote this blog post 96 times in my head that morning.You. Are. Here. Enjoy. It. The wind whispered, Now. Look. Up. Look. Ahead. Slow. Down. Be. Here.I turned left and headed down toward home. There were more people now, folks walking dogs, people out watering lawns. I smiled at the woman, standing in her pajamas at her driveway, chatting in animated fashion with her friend. I turned left and headed for home.I felt myself speeding up and took a deep breath. Work would be there. Aggravations would be there. I needed a few more minutes of feeling the wind in my spirit. I slowed my gait and looked up and ahead, considering the path of my life. I am no longer who I was — despite the parts of me that won’t change, like the way my feet go in nearly opposite directions because of their flatness or the way I say certain words, I am not a throwback — and I am not yet who I will be next.I look up and wonder what that ‘next’ will be. Don’t. Worry. Live. And. It. Will. Come. Just. Go. With. The. Flow. Of. Life’s. Winds.I wrote this blog post 108 times in my head that morning.I sauntered up my driveway and after talking with my pups for a bit, set to work. I cleared out yet one more space, gave away stuff, vacuumed and cleansed it. The dogs were thrilled and took it for their own. Go with the flow, indeed.I wrote this blog post 326 times in my head. Today.But now it’s yours. Listen to the wind. Don’t be a throwback. Unless you want to, unless that’s where the Path has you for now. Maybe I’ll see you out there and we’ll both know we were here.
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