Monday, August 15, 2011

A walk beneath the dripline

By Patrick J. Walsh

Today I made up my mind to take a walk in the park, since I've been out of the habit of doing so for a few days. Just as I got there, though, the skies opened, the thunder clashed, and the rain started to pour down on me and my sad little blue umbrella.

But I walked anyway, stubbornly refusing to let the windy rain push me aside, or to be deterred by the meandering tributaries of water sluicing down from the trees on the hill to my left. The streaming rainwater ran in a wide arc from the treeline on my left to the edge of the parking lot at my right, where it hopped the tarred curb to pool somewhere in the muddy depths of the oversloshed field below the lot.

The glare from the shiny wet pavement made me feel a little dizzy, and my shirt and jeans and socks and shoes were all heavily sodden with the rain that had pushed its way into my personal space, the perimeter of which was roughly outlined by the drifting dripline of the edges of the umbrella, which shifted continuously as I walked.

It struck me that work, and life, are like that sometimes. There are times when work is difficult enough to seem absurd in the amount of concentration and effort it requires, and at those times, life seems like an uphill trek on a wet road in a heavy rain.

But then, in the airy dry space where thoughts are clear and prayers are pure, there comes a familiar determined sense of forward motion. And at least for the duration of the journey, until calmer conditions prevail and warmth and rest again enter the equation, that determination to keep moving forward, against the wind and in spite of the rain, is enough.

Enough to finish an unexpectedly arduous walk, enough to return to work with an enthusiasm bordering on exhilaration, and enough to feel anew an abiding gratitude for every remarkable moment of a life of constant wonder and delicate revelation, in each unique day of breath and sweat and poetry.

© 2011 Patrick J. Walsh

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