Yesterday was a warm winter day that felt like spring. It felt like a day to get out and move around. I had been inside for long enough. It seemed this winter as if there had been one storm after another. And one little disaster after another. Massive snow pileup on mailbox, causing it to tilt. Windstorm wiping out mailbox. Windstorm knocking down power lines and killing off electricity.
So now, it’s almost time for the season of renewal. The season of new hope and new life.
But I needed to walk to my dad’s grave, to let him know that I love him and that I miss him. I also wanted to tell Smokey the same thing. Smokey the cat and my dad are buried together, as Smokey passed away eight months before we lost our dad.
I knew that there was the possibility of rain. But it didn’t matter. I could not walk there on my dad’s birthday (March 3rd) because it was too cold and too wintry. Today, however, was the day.
The walk started out feeling hard. I felt it in my knees and thighs. It had been a long time since I had walked any real distance. After a while, I felt that I was getting back into the rhythm of walking, and my body stopped complaining. I met interesting people along the way. Liz told me that, until a year ago, she walked her dog regularly. After her dog passed away, she didn’t walk as much.
She was out today to celebrate the warmth and to enjoy the outdoors. I met Captain Noel as he was checking his mailbox. He told me that he had participated in many boat races in the 1950s. He was an interesting man. As I walked farther, I met up with Paula, who was walking a very friendly dog. Paula is a dog trainer, and this was her sixth dog of the day. We walked together for a short distance because she had already walked quite a bit with all of those dogs. She told me that her kids both play lacrosse and that she spends a lot of time at lacrosse games.
As I walked, the sky grew more and more cloudy. After walking for a long distance, or so it seemed, I arrived at the the cemetery. Since I had been measuring the distance on my phone, I checked the phone. It read 5.8 miles. OK, I thought.
That seemed about right. I stood there and looked at my dad’s grave and noticed some things were awry. I saw that one of the planters had a flag in it and the other one didn’t. I had assumed that the flags were placed in the planters on veterans day.
I saw that there was a flag on the ground, next to the planter. So I put the flag back in. Then I saw that there was a small tree in a pot that was tipped on its side. I picked it up. There were Christmas bulbs lying on the ground nearby. I replaced as many as I could.
It started raining lightly, and I took that as my cue to walk back home. At times, it felt more like it was pouring but, by the time that I arrived home, the rain had stopped. The total distance of my walk was 11.2 miles or 18 kilometers. It was a good walk, as it felt healing and restorative. It was also a great way to remember my dad. I think that he would have liked the stories that I collected on the pilgrimage.