Today is a day for missing. As I walked out, in mid-February, into a day that is bright and sunny and breezy warm, warm enough to eventually shed my light hoodie, I found myself just walking around the playground while my toddler played. The sun warmed cheeks, neck, and arms, and I found my heart yearning and longing, deeply nostalgic. I texted to a friend, “Today would be a great day to walk. I am missing that today: just walking and talking with friends.” And I am. I am missing it terribly.
I miss the days walking through the neighborhoods just north (I think) of my apartment on UofE’s campus, my friend Leah and I just pouring out hearts and minds because we knew the other would listen, hear, love, and pray.
I miss walking through campus of an evening, sitting out on the Circle, laughing with my friends and listening to our echoes.
I miss quiet Sunday mornings walking through campus to church at BSU, the world still sleepy, quiet, and expectant of the day.
I miss nights being walked back to my graduate dorm by my husband-then-boyfriend, only to find out that he had left his car on the absolute opposite side of campus and neglected to tell me so he could spend that last bit of time with me.
I miss those first days of spring, those days when you can’t help but be outside. Walking barefoot and talking with friends about anything and everything, spectating ultimate frisbee games, napping on stone benches. Eating in little cafes, walking around malls, visiting comic and game stores, sitting outside at the coffee shop.
I miss being able to call up a friend to ask, “Want to walk?” and usually finding at least one person who would.
Oh, the miles that I must have trekked, the states’ worth of distance covered in those walks. But the distance didn’t matter. It was the time. Time I got to spend with people, being challenged and sharpened by them, gaining insight with them, learning them, learning to love them, and letting them see me more and more. The honesty, the vulnerability, the truth that I found myself sharing with people in those moments; that is precious to me. The spontaneous games of tag and footraces. The laughs that broke from me when I was caught and, usually, hoisted over a shoulder or grabbed up in a hug.
I feel like Rapunzel sometimes. You know, living far away from anywhere and anyone? I miss an arm around my shoulder or an elbow linked through mine as we go along. I always knew I could reach out and find support. Find a friend.
I still know that, and I still reach, even if the walks have lessened and the distance has widened. But I am just missing the walks today.