I’m back at school, with light flurries coming down, spiraling and gliding in the wind. Several inches of snow have fallen, and the crunch of fresh snow underfoot has been compressed into uneven walking paths. I’m not in California anymore. On my last day at home, I took a walk around Lake Lagunita. When I last saw the lake (which is something of a misnomer, given its lack of water), it was a brown, prickly mess. Leaves had begun to fall, golden and curved and sharp. The dry, August heat had caused the ground to crack and harden, and as I walked I kicked up dust around my feet. When I came back, it looked like this:
Frogs croaked in the bottom of the basin, rubber squeaks coming at me from multiple directions. The basin itself was a carpet of pillowy green, interrupted by the few dark pools of water that collected in the lowest hollows. The sun, so pleasant in August, was hidden behind clouds, but I could still make out its glow as it dropped towards the horizon. Instead of stepping awkwardly between large cracks, I stepped awkwardly around puddles and mud, marked with the prints of sneakers and hiking boots. The twisted, sprawling trees were covered in moss, and their branches sprung out like fractals.
I wasn’t the only person on the lake. The path was littered with all kinds of runners: high school athletes, people out for some casual exercise, researchers and business people trying to figure out their next strategy. There were two children scraping in the mud with sticks, a couple of feet down the bank of the lake, while a man held a video conference on the small hill at the entrance to the lake. Somehow, none of these people disturbed each other; we each experienced the lake as if it was our own. When I finished my walk, I clambered onto the side of the stone grilling station that overlooked the lake, and took it in for a couple of minutes, then walked backed to my bike and went home.
I didn’t get the chance to go off on an aimless walk last semester, and now its cold and windy and the sky is bleak. But I’ve decided that at some point, I’ll put on my sweater, my scarf, my jacket, my hat, my boots, and my gloves, and I’ll go. I’ll take a walk.