Marching Along . . .

There once was a girl who could write
Her words were full of insight
She tried a limerick
That fell like a brick
But her stories floated like light. 

Minuteman Park, Concord MAIn March, I still don’t usually like to walk in the morning.

Even though I’m a walker.

I don’t hike or run, trot or dawdle. I walk for miles for the majesty of . . . walking.

No little music plugs; instead I keep my ears open for the sound of the woodpecker and the hawk, the trill of the mocking bird and the taunt of the squirrel. I listen to the scrunch of the leaves, the low roar of the plane above me, and the soft slap of my shoes on wooden bridge and wooded path.

March is still cold in New England. This past week, the temperature didn’t rise above 28 and snow swirled savagely, swaying with the frigid air, thumbing its proverbial nose at me.New England walking, Walking, Forests

But February has vanished, the time has changed, and the light promises to lift my mood, which was sobered by the gloom of winter’s gray.

So here I am at 7 a.m., walking the dirt trail near our home in the woods. The air is a cool 34 degrees and a bit soggy, like a sock that hasn’t totally dried. We’re promised rain and sleet later in the day.

For now, I appreciate the lack of drops and the feel of the earth, and I tread lightly for a half an hour until I reach my favorite rock. A hard steady gray New England rock that I pat like a friend, sending it a silent token of my appreciation for its presence in my walking day.

Strangely, I feel that it’s thanking me back, perhaps because it seems to be rocking gently from side to side.

Well, that’s just crazy, but then I hear a grumble. The air becomes as still as night and the birds disappear like ghosts.

The rock shakes and shakes and SHAKES. And then,



. . . a green hand slides out of the crevice.    lebrechaun, Irish tale

May you always walk in sunshine
May you never want for more
May Irish angels rest their wings
Right beside your (rock) and door.
                                Irish Blessing

111 thoughts on “Marching Along . . .

  1. I love this post. It is so beautifully written… and my how lucky you are to have such a walk so close to where you live. I am very partial to wooden walkways and the sounds of nature.

    “The air is a cool 34 degrees and a bit soggy, like a sock that hasn’t totally dried.” Such a great sentence which makes me totally feel the weather and understand it immediately.

    Great post.

    • Oh shoot – I was hoping for a rude limerick or two from you, Roy. I think those are the ‘true’ limericks. I bet you have many beautiful walks, as well as runs, in your Jersey neighborhood.

  2. OK, first … how did I not realize you were a fellow New Englander before now? And … since I’m also just pairing that with the fact that one of your books is set in Boston … are you in Massachusetts? I live just south of Boston.

    As for walks, I too forego the earbuds. I can listen to music or podcasts anytime; but tuning yourself to really listen to the live world around you does wonders for the soul and has ramifications that extend far beyond, into problem solving, interpersonal relationships and more.

    When I read about how you pat and silently thank your rock, I smiled. I do this often. People can think I’m crazy; that’s OK. Depending on one’s definition, I probably am. But, for instance, at the end of each summer, I take a night to walk the beach alone and thank summer for what it brought; and every year when I take my Christmas tree down (always real), I silently thank it for the joy it brought and say, “Good job!”

    No hands have reached for me yet, however. I’ll keep an eye out.

    • I’ve lived in the Boston area (west of the city) for a total of 12 years now, off and on. But I consider myself a Californian, since I’ve lived there a total of 20 years. I always have a foot on both coasts. My first book is set in Cambridge/Boston/Caribbean. My second book in San Francisco/Stinson Beach. A bit of a dual personality I have. 🙂
      But I’m gaining a love of New England steadfastness, including the NE rock. Yes, you and I are ‘rock pat-ers’ (of course, we’re tree huggers also – I LOVE your idea of thanking the Christmas tree every year).
      Keep your eyes out for those beings who live in our NE rocks, Erik. You just never know when you may meet one….

    • Ear buds take all the fun away from a nature-lover’s walk. Glad to hear that you also enjoy the sights and sounds, Mary. Just keep your eyes open too – you never know what might be crawling out of a rock or tree… 🙂

  3. Lovely post, Pam.
    I don’t walk that often, but I enjoy it when I do–also without earbuds. I like to hear the birds, and I listen for other creatures–hopefully no green-handed creatures. 🙂

    • Walking settles me, Merril. Meditation in movement, I guess, with the birds as background music. I’m noticing the songbirds are back. Sure hope they are safe from freezing temps…as well as from strange rocks. ;-0

    • I’d never expect you to wear earbuds while walking, Jill – you are a ‘soulful’ woman. Now, I have to get back to your book – having a grand ole time reading your words. 🙂

    • Yes, the only time I like to walk in a city is during the winter, because the sidewalks are cleared and ‘walkable.’ Can’t hear the birds there, though, and the rocks hide. 🙂

  4. Fun post . . .

    May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be at your back, and may no long creepy green fingers reach out from brick, rock, crevice, or crack!

    • Your limerick is brilliant, and made me smile wider than a long green valley. I even had some friends e-mail me and say “did you see that great limerick a person called nrhatch wrote to match your own?” You have fans! ❤

  5. You are a tricky one to toss in a twist at the end 😉

    You captured all the reasons why I like to walk the trails, especially in the spring and fall. I’d also add the smell. The glorious earth smells ❤

    • I should have added the smells. Particularly in early spring, as the earth melts underneath snow, and buds pop up in all their earthy, delicious aromatic glory. Thanks, Joanne. xoxo

  6. Pam, thank you for bringing us along on your lovely walk and introducing us to your rock – I love how you stop to and pat it, noting its solid presence in your day. Then I had to laugh at the creepy end…well done – a post with an Irish twist. Isn’t the last one just beautiful? It also reminds me of a special rock in the woods in Sweden which we were told by neighbours was home to some angels…my young son (we) were enchanted and one day came across the rock as usual with an angel sitting on top! A dear friend had bought and placed it there for us all to commune with…a special time. Hoping the weather turns for the better soon and that the warmer daily walks are possible for you. ❤️

    • An angel sitting on a rock – how gloriously perfect. I shall look for an angel (transformative, ethereal, almost invisible unless one is really looking) on my next long rocky walk. Thanks for sharing this story, Annika. You have a special friend who thought of sharing her angel with you.

  7. I felt like I was walking along beside you, Pam. Beautiful description of your journey. As an ex-New Englander, I can relate to having those special rocks along the way that mark distance, sometimes a change in direction, or a place to sit and breathe. The green hand??? I wasn’t expecting that. Ha ha. Beautiful Irish blessing. Happy St. Patrick’s Day ☘️

    • I first got an appreciation of the NE rock when my guy decided to unearth the 100-year-old rocks that were hidden by the dirt, grass, and weed of time around the periphery of our property. It took him over two years to dig up at least 500 of them, small and large, once placed as a boundary between colonial acres. The history of this rock wall ‘got’ to me. Now, NE rock walls have a special place in my heart. Particularly those with crevices and interesting ‘creatures’ who pop up from time to time. 🙂

  8. A Nature walk is as refreshing as your words Pamela. I love to listen to those subtle sounds of morning…many times I sit and soak in the splendor of flowering trees. I have never worn those music plugs while walking! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

    • “The subtle sounds of morning…” how I love that phrasing. And yes, nothing like walking and waking up to the sound of the dove and the hawk, the chipmunk and the wild turkey gobbling by. 🙂

  9. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – St. Patrick’s Day – Pamela S. Wight, Brigid Gallagher, Jacqui Murray, Oyia Brown and Elizabeth Melton Parsons | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  10. I almost could feel myself rocking back and forth in the sway or your beautiful words. Well until the green hand appeared on scene! I always come away from your posts inspired by your talent. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  11. Love your story, and of course the hand coming out of the rock, lol. And I’m with you, when I walk I take in my surroundings without ears jammed with music. It’s twofold: serenity and safety. 🙂 ❤

  12. The best part was that you don’t put in earplugs (oh – I guess they call them ear”buds”) to shut yourself off from the natural world. I always wonder why people bother to go out into a natural environment just to shut it out with their “music.” Spring will come – is coming – and before we know it, we’ll be having heat waves and droughts and we’ll all be crying for rain.
    Now, about that green hand…. I’m intrigued. What a story that would make.

  13. You caught me unawares, Pam!! 😀
    I was blissfully thinking the rock had loosened from weather changes and maybe it felt cool to the touch and then, bam! Thanks for the great walk outdoors, while you listened for specific birds, squirrels and soaked in all the natural wonders. . . I sensed an inner peace on this walk. ❤

    • I did kind of get the readers of this story into a bit of a lull and then BAM the green hand appeared. 🙂 I never want my stories to get bland or boring. But truly, walking always gives me inner peace. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can get a bit more peaceful than I am right now. :-0

      • I get a bit stir crazy in January and February. I used to about five years ago do day trips with a guy friend, separate checks. We would hike for an hour in various towns, find the local diner or nice (non-chain) restaurant afterwards. I have a few photos of our snowy hikes and even frozen waterfalls in developed pictures, but not on my phone, Pam.
        You racked me up with the bit of a lull then the green hand’s arrival came with a BAM! 🙂

        • I just did a marathon drive down to Delaware and back this past weekend with my daughter and granddaughter. On the 7-hour ride there and back, we stopped at “way off the highway” local diners. Fascinating and a great way to get to “know” a town. I think you and I are kindred spirits, for sure. xo

          • I think it is always fun to try new places when in comfortable locations. I am not sure this works quite so well around the world but I do think it is worthwhile trying, Pam.

            I always smile when I hear of the state of Delaware, since we drove every other year to Massachusetts. My Mom’s father’s parents settled there from the fjords of Sweden.

            In Ohio, Delaware is a university town with Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU) and the “home” of the Central Ohio Symphonic Orchestra. (COSO)
            We have been kindred spirits on a few wonderful subjects. . . xo

  14. I love to walk too, but a “cool” 34 and soggy outside would see me on the indoor track or on a treadmill. I loved reading this and enjoying your walk with you until you pulled that green hand out at the end. You caught me completely off guard.

  15. The obsession with listening to music when out walking is an odd one when nature is so wonderful with its varied noises, I love walking in the morning too, when everything feels new and uniquely your own. Great post.

    • Oh nooooooooooooooooo, Jacqui. Okay, I’m admitting this (even though I complain about the cold). There is something in the air when it’s in the 30s – something vibrantly saucy. When the temp is 60? I want to walk for hours…. I’d gladly walk your dog if we lived close by. 🙂

    • I used to have my ‘security guard’ (dog) Henry to scare off any green-hand creatures on my walk. He’s now in a better place now, so I use my camera as a deterrent- I hear those creatures are very photo-shy. 🙂

  16. I finished the Right Wrong Man last night! At one point my husband came downstairs all dressed and ready for an appointment we had and I was still lying on the couch in my comfies and hair messed up reading haha. You grabbed me! I posted a short review on both Goodreads and Amazon.

    • Are you saying that you don’t think the green-handed creature from the rock is factual??!!
      So good to see you here!! I’m popping over to your site – it’s been too long. xo

  17. Cute little tribute to St Patrick’s Day.. I liked it! I do not envy your cold days. I am content with my 80 degrees since the end of Jan. But I am sure you walks and alone time are special. 🙂

  18. I love the ending… haha… the thought of a green hand coming out of the rock!! 😀 Sounds like an idyllic walk. And yes, I wouldn’t want to block all those natural sound out with music either. I envy your confidence to walk alone Pamela. I go to many places on my own in the city where I live, most of the time, but walking in the rural areas makes me a bit nervous I’m going to meet someone I don’t want to. It’s probably just fear, not so much of a reality. I did walk alone , just the one time, through the cemetery my parents are buried in, during the month of May. All the cherry blossom had blossomed, birds were singing, sunlight twinkling through the thick old trees in the Victorian part of the cemetery… it was quite magical, even though I walked fast!! 😀 But I’ve never dared to do it again. Amongst the beauty of nature, there are occasional evidence of drug taking (bits of foil etc, left behind) that’s what makes me a little nervous. But I guess that’s cities, always something to watch out for.

    • As much as I love visiting cities, I prefer to not live in one for the reasons you state here. I want to be able to hear the birds and walk to a rock without worrying abut finding drug rubbish. Now a green creature’s hand? Much more exciting to me. 🙂

      • Yes, it is the drawback to living in a city. Luckily where I live is not the worst place for drug abuse. It’s there, but not taking over the place. I’m very lucky to be living in one of the more attractive cities in the UK. I used to want to live in London years ago. But going by a cousins experience.. oh no, not now. London is best for tourism, not living. It’s a pity, something about London is very charming, but only on the surface. 🙂

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