No school today, due not so much to snow but to ice. While I was gone most of the day, literally sliding on Barre’s sidewalks, the kids were home. With great gusto, the teenager plowed the driveway, while the ten-year-old teamed up with the neighbor boy. In the afternoon, the boy’s mother and I went walking. I’m reading Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust: A History of Walking right now, and I realize my deepest conversations with this woman have been along our mutual dirt road.
Our relationship began before either of us had kids, meeting for the first time along the road when it had washed out in a summer storm. We have now stretched through births, illness, carpooling, innumerable passing back and forth of cake pans and eggs.
And yet it is always the road where we return. Today, with the road’s center sheer ice, she walked on one gravelly edge, I on the other, and we spoke across this narrow road. Back at my house, in the rain, the children had built a couch of snow complete with footrests. I watched the two children later from the kitchen windows, sitting on their mitten-made couch in their bright hats and snowsuits, chatting.
This constellation called walking has a history, the history trod out by all those poets and philosophers and insurrectionaries, by jaywalkers, pilgrims, tourists, hikers, mountaineers, but whether it has a future depends on whether those connecting paths are travelled still.
–– Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: a History of Walking