Since the start of this past summer I have opened my apartment door before 6 o’clock most mornings. The walk I undertake through my neighborhood rarely lasts longer than forty minutes, and I am generally alone as I move down block after quiet block. The sky lightens.
I am walking with a goal – avoiding a medication with which my doctor threatened me back in March if I did not bring my blood sugar levels down.
The past half year has had a focus that affects what I eat and how much and how regularly and what I do in the way of exercise.
By this past May I had lost enough weight to convince my doctor, my work colleagues and myself that something had changed in my life.
As I began my regimen of walking this summer, I recovered energy. I began to find living easier when there was less me to carry around.
Easier to put one foot in front of another down neighborhood streets. Harder to escape a sense of the many directions my life has become accustomed to moving at other times.
How do I make sense out of a basket of old dairies and journals beside an overstuffed chair in my apartment? In the same room a laptop sits open on a collapsible table, and the kind of writing that populates this blog has often gotten done there but never on the iPad that lies on the leather couch in another room. There is a style of online exploration that has become associated with the iPad and even the iPhone, but I have not yet managed to read a book straight through by means of either device. Real books form stacks on what would once have been called a coffee table in front of my leather couch. When I am seated there and drink my morning coffee, though, I rest my mug on a side table on which stand photographs in frames. Other photographs line the mantelpiece. Guests regularly sit in another armchair near the couch, and we share the coasters where I rested my coffee earlier in the day. At times a cat perches and watches nearby or circles and sleeps on any number of available surfaces.
Can any of this become simpler, I ask myself? Forget about the television and the CD player and the portable record player that I recently recovered from storage to play the vinyl albums I found.
Sunday morning Mass? A symphony subscription for the coming year?
And then suppose I were to fall in love?
In how many directions could my mind move then during a forty-minute walk at 6 in the morning!