When Walking is Writing

A month of Thursdays later, and I’m finally sharing a recent creation from my poet-soul. If it surprises you that it’s about walking, I have to wonder how long you’ve been reading after me.

In February, my husband and I took a jaunt over Mount Hood to Central Oregon. In Redmond, we visited our “home” resort – Eagle Crest.

If three golf courses aren’t enough, there’s a river beside a trail. A huge looping paved bike/walking path circles the newer portion of the resort. A rustic fence surrounds a pasture where horses graze.

And mule deer descend on a daily basis to mow the greens with their persistent snacking.

It was winter. And it snowed. In fact, we woke up to white on several mornings and watched peace blanket the world on two snowy afternoons.

But that didn’t keep us from our “daily constitutional.” (Does anyone know why this phrase usually refers to a walk?)

On the first day, a line of poetry came to me as we rounded the bend toward our condo. The next morning, I opened a blank Word document and typed those words. (Yes, I was amazed I still remembered them. No, it isn’t the first line of the finished poem.)

A few other lines followed.

Over the rest of the vacation, I jotted reflections after every walk.

This is the resulting poem.

The Walk

Dry pungent air slaps across senses
Snippy
Like ammonia-cleansed halls

Chill wind slices through jackets
Angry
Like shards of broken windows

Purple berries clutter the trail
Wrinkly
Like a carpet of winter raisins

Mule-eared deer freeze among grass
Stony
Like Medusa’s unlucky prey

Sunlight glints through greenery
Puny
Like Dr. Banner in Hulk’s wake

Voices hum in stops and starts
Tinny
Like an untuned radio station

Rain slashes across cheekbones
Icy
Like a fire hose on duty

Footfalls tramp in tandem
Wimpy
Like a pair of ticking clocks

Sleet whispers across damp shoulders
Iffy
Like an insecure first date

Branches wave unsynchronized
Cheery
Like princesses on parade

Autos rumble on distant asphalt
Noisy
Like a Sunday morning mower

Snowflakes tumble in torrents
Eerie
Like a waterfall of white

Silence presses against eardrums
Weighty
Like water on a diver’s back

Snow whirls from nowhere
Gently
Like a cherry blossom Spring

Have you ever felt poetic after a nature walk? I confess that walking is one of the ways I stimulate my creativity. If I’m stuck on a scene, and the weather isn’t down-pouring, I’ll slip on my walking shoes and take a lap around the block.

Do any of the lines activate your senses? Did you have an emotional response to the poem?

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A Couples’ Retreat is NOT the same as a Lovers’ Getaway

February chills us to the bone. If the groundhog sees his shadow, we’re in for another six weeks of winter. I was ready for summer three months ago.

Spending time away from home with your significant other sounds like a cozy arrangement. You can leave behind all the household projects staring you in the face. Staying in a fancy chalet should be a great time.

When I think of spending time away with my husband, I’m thinking about long walks holding hands. Cuddling up together to watch romantic comedies on a tiny screen in our private room.

Sleeping late followed by in-room exercise that’s guaranteed to work up an appetite is on the schedule. Follow this up with breakfast and coffee and sharing a hot shower. Sounds pretty awesome so far, right?

Except – just like last February – my husband and I aren’t vacationing alone. We’re heading over Mt. Hood with five other couples to invest in strengthening our marriage.

Let me tell you, Couples’ Retreat is NOT synonymous with Lovers’ Getaway.

First of all, there will be no private room. We share the three-bedroom chalet with two other couples. One of them we don’t even know that well.

But I feel bad for them because they are young – and have only been married five months. This non-getaway must be cramping their style much more than it is mine.

After breakfasting around the log-cabin-style table, we all prepare to meet the day. First on the schedule is a team-building activity. Team meaning a married couple.

Lunch hits the spot. Who knew Central Oregon could chill a person to the bone in February? Oh, right. Me. I’m the one who reserved this place for the retreat.

On to a communication activity – or three. This is where my nearly-idyllic marriage falls short. Hubby and I have forgotten how to listen to each other. We think we know each other so well that we zone out during conversation.

Now we’re forced to confront these poor habits head-on. And discuss ways to improve our communication skills. I look around the room and wonder how forthright these couples are being in this group setting.

Now it’s time for the retreat to begin. “From ordinary to extraordinary” this presenter has called his four workshop sessions.

If I can’t have a lovers’ getaway, maybe I can learn how to communicate with my husband again. When did I stop listening to him? Sometime during those three years I worked full-time and went to college for the rest of my waking hours.

The retreat ends with a dress-up dinner out at a local restaurant. It’s a six-tuple date.

Maybe not romantic, but we all know marriage is hardly about the romance.

Would you choose a couples’ retreat or a lovers’ getaway? What do you see as the major weakness in your long-term relationship?