I like walking in the morning after a big snow. The fluffy kind that eddies and swirls with each step. When the silence is so profound it is a roar. When all you can see is white. Frosted trees, curious mounds that used to be lawn furniture, and the small tracks of some wild animal out foraging for breakfast. When air sparkles silver and the shadows make interesting images on the white canvas of the snow.
I like walking at lunchtime with my close friend who is also my boss to the restaurant we have chosen for lunch. I cannot often afford to do this any longer, but I miss those walks. Idle chatter, not related to work, feet pounding cement, me trying to keep up with a woman nine years my senior.
I like walking in the late afternoon on an eastern beach in the slanted western sun. I always start walking south so the waning sun is to my right creating long shadows on the sand. I will stop and stoop to pick up a shell or a rock or a piece of driftwood now and again, but mostly I am just walking. A moving meditation.
I like walking at twilight in the summer neighborhoods of suburbia when the good people of America are cooking out, mowing their grass, sipping cold sweet tea on their front porches watching the passersby. The fireflies are starting to blink now and again. And the hummingbirds flit around red feeders.
I like walking after midnight on empty city streets, Patsy Cline in my head singing. The film noir of the downtown area is lit by street lamps and the flash of neon in the fog. The stoplights change from red to green, green to yellow, yellow to red as if there is traffic in need of control. Sometimes you can hear music or a television drifting from an apartment window or bar open late. Sometimes all you hear are your footsteps.
I like walking in the small hours when the whole world is asleep. The furtive fox and the nocturnal owl keep watch. Everything in shadow, the moon lighting a path that needs careful negotiation. This is the time when the temperature drops to its coldest and people snuggle deeper into blankets. I wrap my coat tighter and enjoy the bracing wind on my face.
I like walking at dawn in late spring. The fullness of summer in the promise of the garden, the bird song as they wake and begin their orchestrations. The sweet smell of dew and the cheerful red of late tulips. The soft air is a slight mist that will later burn off in the fullness of the sun and provoke crystalline blue skies. But today, now, wrapped in the mist that is the shawl of the mountains. Wrapping us in love, in contentment, in abiding peace.