Today we walked in a local state park that was once home to a large settlement of people who were part of the Mississippi Culture (10th to 13th centuries). Ceremonial spaces, mounds believed to have been constructed for religious and political use, and fort boundaries have been reconstructed and informative stations line the paths.
The earth hasn’t thawed yet; no scent of geosmin is yet being released by the earth’s microorganisms, but the promise was present in the sunshine and breeze.
There are many trails in this park, and all of today’s visitors were respectful of space. A woman and her little daughter went to the right; we went left; and a man and his dog went straight ahead. We honored the boundaries we’re required to keep.
We were too far apart to converse, but I felt a tender, sweet human concern among us all. It looked a bit like a science fiction film (The People Who Could Not Connect), all of us veering away from one another, but the energy was gentle and somewhat sad. Grief becomes part of the atmosphere breathed in a time of such suffering.
I felt a tangible love for us all of us in the newness and the tentative choices, the fear, the anxiety, and the wonderful courage, we see in so many people, but specifically, my heart went out to this holy little group of travelers, walking ancient paths into a new world.
Solvitur ambulando, said St. Augustine; it is solved by walking, and for me, that has so often been true. This time, though, we’re walking into mystery, and I think the only solutions involve surrender, forgiveness, and loving all those we walk among as the tender, flawed, and fleeting miracles we are.