Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Walk in the Park: Patience

By Patrick J. Walsh

Cold wet darts of ice lashed at my coat as I pushed a thick wrap of snow off the hood of my car.

The storm had come late to this long, weary winter, and its intensity seemed an almost personal affront to those of us who have had cause enough already for sadness and struggle during these difficult days.

Fortunately, the sleet portion of the storm wound its way to exhaustion as the morning hours faded into the afternoon, and I made my way to the park as the day neared its end.

And then, as I walked in the sunlight, the glory of nature’s wise progress traced its line on my mind and spirit. 

Reflected off the clean carpet of snow, the light of the sun danced with a sparkling radiance, like a sprite in a tale once whispered by the very old to the very young.

And in an arc of water at the edge of the icy lid of the upper pond, the warmth of the sun opened a dappled window on the life of the fish and flora of the murky world below the surface.

The chill of the morning had given way to timid, tentative warmth; and in every yard of fading, melting snow there was witness to the passing of this long, exhausting winter.


As I made my way along my usual path, thinking of the progress of the day — from the sad, cold rain of morning to the hopeful, mild sunlight of the afternoon — I could not help but be overwhelmed by gratitude for the unfailing mechanisms of patience. 

One small soul grateful for the unanticipated mercy of a warm afternoon in March, I make my way forward through hard days one short stride at a time.

The larger life of the park, meanwhile, moves on with a majesty and radiance that is amplified by the incongruity of weather out of time, and indicative of nature’s stoic resolve, in the passing of day to day, and season to season.

© Patrick J. Walsh

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Walk in the Park: Today

By Patrick J. Walsh

Today I walked in the park.

It has been nearly two and a half months since my Mom passed away, and today was the first day since her passing that I have been able to walk in the park.

Although I was by myself, I did not feel alone. It seemed as though I might be walking a bit slower than I have in the past, but that may have been an artifact of the emotions involved, or simply the result of my lingering reacquaintance with the pleasantness of my surroundings.

As I walked, my mind was awash in the notion of what it would be like to live a life of pure spirit. Unencumbered by the infirmities of age or illness or the limitations of this physical existence, the life of the spirit could be open to the experience of all good things, immediately, without reservation.

Following a physical life of faith and joy and the preparation born of the sharing of one’s experiences and treasure without hesitation, the life of the spirit seems a logical extension of a will well exercised in gratitude and service.

In recent days, the exhilaration of this line of thought has helped to temper the sadness of my grieving, and given rise to the kind of hope that sustains mourner and mystic alike.

In this time of Lenten temperance, it is a hope whose comfort is familiar to me, having been a part of all the Easters of my childhood, and a defining characteristic of my Holy Week preparations as an adult.

I walked in the park today. I was by myself, but I did not feel alone.

It is nice to know that we can walk together again, free of the limitations of age and infirmity and illness.

My steps are a little slower than they once were, my progress a little less than it will one day be. But it is good to walk again, and to not be alone.

© Patrick J. Walsh