The walk. Not the fugue state, but something just as good. The walk of concentration that keeps the eye tuned just three paces up the road.

No traffic here, mostly; at least none that I can’t hear coming from a good way off. That I can walk so absently, with such a close-in focus, is one of the graces of living on a there-and-back road with only one way in or out. One meanders here without choices except how far and how fast. One can’t wander…but the thoughts can. If I can hold enough attention around me to keep from tumbling down the steeps to the river or falling in a pothole, I’m good. I’m happy. I have created the space for the pages-in-my-head to walk with me.

These are the mornings whose successes are described by the numbers on the counter of the little tape recorder that’s always with me—a counter zeroed out to start, and never checked during the walk, but left to be discovered when the walk is over.

There is richness in the chip-and-seal surface canvas of the thoughts. Let the feet do what they do; give the rest of me to the other senses. The raising of the eyes to follow a sound, or to find what natural tableau is waiting by accident, framed by the trees and hills and river, is all the looking I need. The smells brought to me by the wind. The brittle sound of leafless trees.

Chilly wind, today. Wind that scrapes the skin through one’s clothes. Perfect. The characters are facing just such a morning on what might be the last day of a life. Use it. A warm tendril of air threaded in among the cool. Use that. The clouds struggle to hold back the sun. Hold onto it. Give it to the tape. Keep it.

Be the day that the characters see. Be the day itself.

With the world reduced to three paces, the inner universe offers a magnificent view.

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