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Taking a Walk

Marcus Grant | Managing Editor

It was a cold day. Most of the birds were long gone, leaving only a few types left. I only really noticed the cardinals and the blue jays; they’re the only ones I know by name. Snow flattened beneath my boots, leaving a trail behind me that would be covered up by someone else whenever they had to venture out to the store, and clung to the trees that stood on either side of the path. Icicles dropped down, if I wasn’t careful, I would get hit in the shoulder or worse, the head.

I stopped at a bend in the path. It was a place where the sun shone right in between the bare branches. Mr. Harley’s fence was beginning to fall apart, the old, wet wood rotting under layers of paint, giving way under the weight of a squirrel that had the misfortune of running atop of it.

It was getting warmer out. Spring was in full bloom now; the flowers were sprouting up along the dirt path and weeds crowded the middle, disguising any roots that lay beneath them. The buzz of insects returned and began to fill the air. Only harsh rainfall could deter them but on this particular day, they were ever busy. There weren’t many people out, except for a group of boys poking a caterpillar with a twig, laughing as it squirmed under their gaze.

I stopped at a bend in the path. The sun peeked out through the clouds, its light illuminating the back of them, giving off a strangely unique glow. At the front of Mr. Harley’s property, small piles of dirt made a line, creating a line where his property ended. His fence had finally collapsed on itself before the end of winter. Now, the old wood sat in a lazy pile at the far corner.

It was a hot day. After only a few steps outside, I was wiping the sweat from my brow, the hot, sticky air clinging to my skin. The sweet smell of lavender filled the path. It had finally grown in and painted the ground in a lovely purple. Children ran by, kicking a ball between them. There were stones in the path now, smooth and placed carefully into the ground to fit into each other. The stones only went on for a little while, falling off somewhere along the path.

I stopped at a bend in the path. The dirt piles in front of Mr. Harley’s house had flowers sprouting now; petunias, orange and bright, lined the grass, their buds reaching up toward the sun. A butterfly landed on one of the leaves, resting for a moment. Two squirrels raced around the yard behind them, eventually running up the tree standing alone in the middle. The wood that once made up his fence was gone and it left that part of the property feeling bare, drawing more attention instead of less.

It was getting chilly again. The leaves grew sparse, turning orange and red before making their way down to the ground, creating a blanket of color on the stone path. Wind rushed through, carrying the earthy scent of fall. It was nice. Comfortable. More people were out walking now, sometimes stopping to talk; even I had a few conversations as I made my way.

I stopped at the bend in the path. Mr. Harley stood, holding a metal can to water the petunias that had blossomed. A swing set was built in the corner of the yard, pristine and new. He mentioned the other day that his daughter’s family was moving in; this must be to prepare. “Soon,” he had boasted to anyone who passed by, “the driveway will be filled with chalk drawings and jump rope and games and the sun will shine on us a little brighter.”

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