Friday, August 28, 2015

Secret Weapon

When there's no time to stretch my legs for real I take a mental stroll. A trail that vanishes through a stand of  oak, passage to another world of fern and creek. I imagine an opening at the end of a field, slip through a curtain of branches. Sometimes the trail curves back upon itself, leads nowhere.  That's when I'm feeling especially stressed.

Other times it opens onto a placid woodland, and my heart beats more slowly even though I'm standing in a crowded Metro car or about to lead a panel (which I will this afternoon). I conjure up favorite trails,  follow their sections from beginning to end: the entry, broad and leafy; the fair-weather crossing over Difficult Run; the confusing stretch where I sometimes get lost; the final burst of boardwalk put there by another devoted woods walker.

Then I realize that the calmness of the woods walk can be called back to mind any time, can be imbibed like a last-minute hit of caffeine or cup of chamomile. It's my secret weapon. I'll be using it today.
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