What goes through your mind on an early morning walk?
For the first part of my morning ritual, my mind is pure chaos. The stream of consciousness chides, cajoles, threatens, and screams at me as I plod along.
You didn’t need that bowl of ice cream last night!
Get that house clean!
Why can’t you stay on a schedule?
What were you thinking?
Why did you say that to him?
And on and on . . .
Interspersed with lectures from my other selves are words that I can’t forget: sharp words that hurt, rebukes, insults, and the like that should have been pushed back into the dusty closets of my mind. Instead, they echo as heavy backdrops of negativity. They weigh me down as I walk, translating physically by making my back and legs ache, my head throb.
My walk becomes more like a wild boar crashing through than a graceful gazelle on the Serengeti.
How does one find serenity? I know people who always seem calm and reasonable, a joy to be around. Even in the face of adversity, they can find silver linings. I tend to do the opposite. And when I consider what kind of a life I’ve had thus far, it hasn’t been that tough. Especially in comparison to others.
“There’s always someone worse off,” my mother would say when I complained about most anything. And I know that now; in fact, I knew that then. Yet this compulsion to get down on myself, to torture myself by going over and over every real and perceived wrong is constant, no matter how often I beat it back.
I stop at the little bridge to watch the rushing water, muddy and ever-changing. We’ve had some recent rains, and I can see where the creek had risen on its banks. A doe hesitantly ventures out from the trees, followed by twin fawns. They drink at the wide part of the creek, choosing to ignore me standing on the bridge. They know I’m not dangerous. Crazy, maybe, but not dangerous.
I take a deep shuddering breath as if I had been holding it in. Tears hang like silver threads in the back of my head. I haven’t cried in ages and I’m not going to now. A sweet melody from a goldfinch trills across the valley. I hear a tree frog and splashing sounds as the deer run across the creek.
I decide to go on with my walk and my life. My sneakered feet make a rhythmic pleasing sound on the trail. A truck passes on the road nearby, the first traffic I’ve noticed this morning. I meet a bicyclist who greets me with a good morning and a smile.
The flora by the trail is fifty shades of green. Fifty Shades . . . I laugh at my own “literary” reference. The words in my head fade into a hum, and I pick up my step. I walk through a spider’s strand, brushing it off and breaking it. That poor spider worked a long time to get that strand just right to catch its breakfast, and I’ve gone and wrecked it. But what if it had caught me? A storyline partially forms in my mind.
I’ll never reach serenity or Nirvana, but hey, I’m all right for now.
OMP Admin Note: Michele Potter is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who will be blogging on a regular basis on various causes and issues.
Michele is an incredibly diverse and talented writer who I hope will collect her short stories and make them available on Amazon someday soon. In the meantime, her story PERCEPTIONS is available in the guest author section of the flash fiction anthology BITE SIZE STORIES VOLUME ONE.
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