Tired body, quiet mind

During one of his press conferences, the governor mentioned he and his daughters would be going for a long walk later that day, dog in tow. He said they intended to walk until they were done in.

“Exhaustion is our friend,” he said.

That stuck with me. I’m not a cheerful indoor-workout person. I need good weather.

The weather finally cooperated here in the hills, and yesterday Mrs. Violet Wiggins (the dog) and I gave exhaustion a try. The day began with a walk to town. We took the scenic route, which is longer.


My brain did its usual low-grade anxiety spin for the first couple of miles. I noted the dandelions, and  noticed that there were very few bees among them. That is, I hear, a bad sign.

That led me to worry about bats, or rather, the lack of them.

And I saw a lot of that nasty, burn-inducing wild parsnip. I first learned about it last year. It seems to be everywhere. Mrs. Wiggins was wildly distracted by every smell she found.

There was a bird near the top of a tall maple., My vision isn’t good enough to let me identify it with certainty. It had a catalog of songs that seemed limitless, and it delivered every song with such joy that it could have been a mockingbird. Maybe. I have a thing for mockingbirds. According to bird maps (yes, I looked), it’s not impossible to see one around here.

We both stopped. Violet sniffed and I listened.

That was the reset I needed. After that, I just walked, and looked, and listened. After about three miles, Violet’s initial enthusiasm about our outing began to flag. The rest of the walk was a long pep talk for a tired pooch.

Once home, Mrs. Wiggins rested in the sun and supervised while I raked leaves from under Margaret, the biggest of our three maples in front of the house. There was a healthy crop of lilies of the valley.

I hand-sawed a big limb dropped by Edward, the ailing maple in the back, and planted about 30 hostas,, which I’m sure the deer will appreciate.

I was tired. Really tired. I went to bed early and I slept well.

The sun is shining again this morning. I think I’ll try exhaustion again.


Read more installments of Village Voices by Susan Barnett.