My day began early with a trio of neighborhood cats and dogs, their names–Bruno, Taco, and Moose–making me smile. I filled the kitchen with Maezen’s voice as I cleaned out the junk drawers and washed the dishes, cinched up the trash bags and sorted through too-small shoes and other Craigslist-bound items. Nursing a cold, preparing to move again, and driving down to Atlantic City of all places for a work conference this week. The speed of life.

Putting any and all notions of vanity aside, I took Bobo for a little walk now that the rain had subsided. Cushman, Sunday morning jazz, a father-son duo, their Sikh turbans to my pajama bottoms, a woman with dark eyebrows working intensely behind a Mac, faces both foreign and familiar as I waited for my iced latte.

Here by the pond, birds and other walkers passing us by while Bobo cries to play but sits patiently at my side; he’s used to this kind of stopping to write, to sit, to take in the pause that reminds me of one day at a time, that indeed it’s only just after noon and I can loosen my grasp on the day that feels like it’s already slipping away, the upcoming weeks feeling dense and packed in in my brain. They are not yet, not now.

It’s not a race. We hear plenty of that. Which is why I laced up my neglected sneakers today and let it be an amble, a quiet rhythm taking over the fast and the fury of taking on too much, of forgetting to take care of myself. Everything will happen, get done–and I am acutely aware of the tendency, especially when I’m at all worn out, to view the future as one lump sum of tasks to tick off a list rather than moments that will come and go all by themselves.

It’s as vulnerable as it is exciting to put my new book out there (and here), a supreme act of letting it go and land where it will, a butterfly on your windowsill, at best creating a ripple effect. Such an unknown, and yet nothing to guess at. Just do, and the rest will follow.

A Chinese-speaking couple wearing sweatsuits just marched past me through the thick vines to toss a line into the lilypads. What will they catch with that handful of crumbs from a plastic bin? They came here with some expectation, a plan–and may leave empty-handed or with trout for dinner. Either way, they brought some supplies and seem to have each other.

Two yellow finches swoop and dive and lift off again, as I slowly rise to walk the trail the rest of the way home.

2 thoughts on “Amble

  1. Tricia says:

    The ethereal image meshes with your words perfectly. I like the idea and therapeutic notion of “Craigslist-bound.” Thank you, Jena.

    I send you a new poem in return..

    How I Lose You.

    It’s not in anything said.
    Not in a tilt of your head
    or a particular tone of voice.
    It’s in the almost imperceptible.
    The way you get into bed at night,
    The way you ask if I want anything,
    You’ve stopped reprimanding me
    for biting my nails.
    and asking who was on the telephone.
    Silences are suddenly
    The ease is gone. As will you be,
    The moment someone leaves you
    they have left you
    long before.



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