Putting Away the Summer

Tomorrow, I return.  As I stand at the other side of summer, turn around, and look back over my shoulder, the mosaic of footprints amaze me.  Sadden me.  Thrill me.

I want to turn around and walk through every step again.  I want to turn forward and walk away.

This has been an amazing summer, a summer of adventures that I still haven’t finished writing about.  A summer in which I walked fifty miles on the Appalachian Trail in spite of my goal to walk ninety five.  I walked another fifty in New York when I meant to walk forty, if that.

And more miles have been walked, miles that I meant to step upon and miles that carved themselves into me and left the bottom of my feet blistered and bloody.

I stubbed my foot so hard, I should rather write that I kicked a rock.  The result was the fragmentation and then eventual loss (it will grow back) of the nail on my left big toe.  I barely wrote anything.  I wrote tons in my head.  I edited and edited and edited some more.

I fell upon the world and touched the fabric of my life and shook out the dust.  I drove a truck backwards even though I was terrified of driving forwards and navigated down a narrow stretch and loaded up the debris and detritus of my life into the bed.  And then I drove down another road until I arrived at the landfill and tossed the memories into a pit.

This afternoon, I picked up my daughter at my mother-in-law’s home and took the Girl to Pete’s Dragon.  And as the story unfurled itself, I wept silly, foolish tears.

Autumn beckons to me, encouraging me to step forward.  Starting yesterday, I began taking yoga classes at the gym (again) in order to build up flexibility, balance, and strength.  I took the Girl with me yesterday and she groaned her way through the poses.  She hated the class.  I loved it.  I loved how I became nothing more than the breath rushing through my body.  I folded my body into triangles and nearly fell over many times and stared at the yoga mat beneath my body.

Tomorrow, I return to the school.  I will set up my classroom, arrange my desks, unpack books.  I will find the pictures I packed away into my green tupperware bin and slowly, one-by-one, put them back on the bulletin board behind my desk.

Tomorrow, I will finalize my syllabi.  I will walk at least four miles with my son.  I will hold the tree pose for at least three breaths and will move into the downward facing dog pose and will push myself back onto the Appalachian Trail and dream about white blazes on trees.


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