Notes while walking

I wave my partner off on the train.

Half my heart making its way across the peninsula; the uncertain hope your loved one will return home. If I had a hanky, I would wave it.

I am unsure in this city that may be home, or not.

Then a tug – a reminder to walk, breaking asphalt into country tracks; blocks replaced by blossoms, breeze and birds.

The cornfields glow in praise of early risers. I walk past huertos tilled and toiled with such care that I am sure they are growing love itself in those beds. Sunflowers turn their heads to watch me and the sun walk by.

Onto the little path down, down into the forest where I used to hold my breath as I passed through; wishing for a dog to keep me safe from the fears that skulk and skitter in my mind, lodged there by news and life.

A trickle of the river accompanies me, no longer the winter torrent, and I name it as I cross over and back, learning the seasons through water. An acequia quenches the fields and parches somewhere else.

Chirping, cricking, buzzing in the long grasses. A shuffle of movement or scurry of fear at my footsteps. A burble of water tumbling over old trunks or the hush of absence where man has dammed it.

Clouds. Hazy layers languish overhead until the heat melts away their indolence. Later they will storm in again tall as castles, hail, thunder and lighting raining down from fluffy ramparts.

Wildflowers alive like disco lights rebel against the dead grass. A dandelion leans into the wind waiting to be blown into purpose.

Looking up at the trenches on the hill I want to shout: boys, there are red butterflies where you shed your blood, and they know nothing of war.

Hay cut and stacked leans to the side like a farmer´s tired hip.

And light and water and birdcall.

Is there anything more alive than this?

And people tell me I should come home. But they do not understand that snails grow like flowers here, roots stretch under water and home is anywhere you listen to and love.

Images and text © Carys Shannon, 2021