on the third saturday of every second month, i have a routine.
i arise at dawn, prepare from scratch dough for bread. while i count the petals of the flowers i ordered online, the dough sits in a hot water cupboard and rises, enough for baking. all of this is done in silence, the only noises the ones that can’t be avoided. on these days there is no music, no tapping fingers or drumming foot on the floor. it’s all intentional, of course.
(i have a computer which works too slowly and a mind which runs too fast.
my voice is the only one i have troubled to develop, but internally it doesn’t shut up.)
once the fresh-bread scent permeates the apartment, it’s time to go. two water bottles and a chiller-bin, a couple of non-perishables and the bread into a bag later, i’m out the door.
i don’t know where i’m driving. there’s no smartphone on my dashboard, no omniscient electronic helper telling me which turns to take. all i know is, i wind up at a hiking trail. there are five options, ranging from lazy twenty minute wander to the most serious of the hikes. i don’t pick one, instead preferring to wander aimlessly. the little orange and yellow flags are reassuring, telling me that even if i don’t know my path i’m probably going the right way.
the longer i walk, and the more my muscles hurt, the calmer i feel. it feels like holding onto a cord, holding it so taut muscles shake under the strain before letting go. the city can’t reach me here; there’s no phone to buzz temptingly in my bag. no social media to numbly scroll, no news to discuss at work.
(city girl wanders nature, pretends to be a nature girl.)
too soon i can see it in the sky, the slow shift of cloud. there’s not going to be rain this afternoon, i’ve done this a dozen times already. it’s early still, but it is winter, and the sky is beginning to darken. if i stand at the right angle i can watch the darkness sweep the ground before me.
it does, and i’m reminded of the first time i ever did this, panicking of early-onset night leaving me stranded. it didn’t, of course. i’m good at navigation.
my mind remains still until i pull into the city.