Time: Where does it go?
It’s the weekend again. After work and daycare pickup and dinner I was walking around the neighborhood with my toddler in the front carrier, exploring randomly and thinking evening walk thoughts.
As I walked near the block with the tucked away restaurant called Dutch Oven Cafe, I thought about how J and I used to like exploring restaurants we had never tried. It’s not something we did all the time, but it’s something we did. I wanted to text J and suggest we go there, but I can’t do that anymore. Actually I can, but I won’t, because I’m not going to keep putting myself out there for somebody who doesn’t treat me like a friend.
A little further on I smelled something spicy and earthy and familiar — Somebody had a juniper tree in their yard! I don’t have any one memory of juniper trees. They occupy a series of landscapes in my past and in my imagination, highlighting the long drives into canyon country. When I smell juniper I think of many things, but today I thought mostly about J, and how happy I used to feel when we were traveling together. Why did she give us up? Not just the marriage, but the friendship as well? She couldn’t handle being a parent, so we separated. She seems to enjoy her time with our son now, and I’m very glad about that. But why did she throw me away?
Crud. It’s one of those days again.
Another thing occurred to me as I walked. It wasn’t a new thought, but it was more solidly formed than in the past. The neighborhood I live in is quirky. It’s full of unexpected things. My apartment is less than a block off of a busy main street lined by strip mall after strip mall. I walked around once counting the number of money lender stores, and I don’t remember what the number was but it was a lot. I find them depressing. But on the main street there are also interesting places. There’s the Indian grocery store and the bakery that hands out plate-sized bread samples. And off the main street the landscape changes completely. I live in apartment complex land. These are nice apartments mostly, with pools, hidden grassy areas, a short trail along an irrigation canal, a couple dog parks, two playgrounds (that I’ve found), and even a community garden (gated). On the other side of the main street is a hodgepodge of homes, ranging from sad looking RVs in an RV park to slightly dated brick homes and large trees to historic-looking and modern McMansions overlooking the city foothills. I love that everything is so different within so small an area. I was walking along and thinking this and thinking about how different my random explorations are from the epic, thoroughly researched expeditions I used to go on with J. I have always gone on wandering walks, even when I was with J, and even further back, back to when I was a kid following my parents as they walked the family dogs. So it’s not like I ever gave that up. But for a while, especially in these months since J and I separated and I’ve faced the loss of my adventure buddy of the last decade, I lost my appreciation for aimless walking, even as I continued to do it. Today I suddenly felt good about it again. Epic adventures have their place, too, but there are many fun ways to explore. J never really appreciated my walking style. But I do.
Tomorrow Little Man and I are getting on a plane again. More on that later.