The summer people are still summering it up around the lake. In a few more weeks, these noontime walks will be me and the goldenrod. The kids will be back in school, the adults back in the adult world.
Walking, I can’t help but take stock of the summer. In a quiet way, this has been a summer of learning for me. Perhaps more than anything else, I’ve started to let go of how hard I hold onto time. I stop and talk to the gardener who often seems to be mowing under a wooden split rail fence. I see him just as he’s turned off the motor, and we talk for a while about phlox and coreopsis, milkweed and butterflies. He’s been gardening around this lake for over forty years, and he’s in no particular rush for anything.
The day has warmed since the cool of the early morning when I left my house. I’ve had plenty of coffee and there’s a long stretch of day ahead. With the toe of his boot, he brushes grass clippings from the mower. He asks how far I intend to walk.
Not far, I answer.
He says he’ll offer me a piece of advice: go further than my plan. Walk around the next curve in the path.
In his mirrored sunglasses I see myself, a small woman in a blue dress. I agree, All right.
He nods and starts the mower again.