Monday, November 09, 2009

Reservoir Walk

About a million hours ago it was Sunday morning and HOBB and I fled the urban bungalow at an hour we normally dedicate to coffee, tea and a sleepy perusal of the New York Times.

The sunshine was abundant and the forecast was for a day of unseasonable warmth. Pulling on shorts, t-shirts, sweatshirts and sneakers, plunking his 'n her baseball caps on our heads, we left our home in record time, leaving a sleeping teen and perplexed Pomeranians, who could not recall the last time they saw their masters so alert at this hour on a Sunday morning.

The Central Park Reservoir Walk has been a cherished feature of our marriage, an approximately 75-minute opportunity for information sharing, gossip, negotiation, political debate, dream analysis, complaining, calendar coordination, strategic planning, child and household maintenance, problem solving, arguing, advice-gathering, current event discussion and philosophical musings about matters important and trivial alike.

It is around a five-mile journey from the urban bungalow to the reservoir, once around and back home. We are creatures of habit, walking pretty much the exact same way each and every time -- heading east on W116th street, turning right on Morningside Drive, heading down until W110th Street, turning left until we hit Manhattan Avenue, walking along the avenue until 108th Street, crossing the street until Central Park West and entering at the transverse -- closed for cars on Sunday -- joining up with the reservoir at the tennis courts, stopping first at the bathrooms.

For variety's sake, we might walk through Morningside Park or take the stone bridge directly onto the reservoir. What is important to state is that HOBB and I walk. And not in a particularly speedy fashion, either. There is no heavy breathing, no rhythmic running for us. While others whizz past us on blades, bikes or the power of their own feet, we amble happily, neither fast nor slow -- just right. As the season changes, so does the scenery, but a reservoir walk is a reservoir walk is a reservoir walk.

It is now a million hours later. The day was busy -- I barely got to read the New York Times, nor did I lose myself in the Sunday morning spate of television shows featuring pundits and talking heads. Aside from the briefest perusal of internet news (CNN.com; nytimes.com; Jpost.com and the Huffington Post), I have no idea what's going on in the world...aside from the tragedy at Fort Hood and the anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The day took me to other places, both on foot and by car, actual and conceptual. Some of the destinations were shared by HOBB and Little Babe, our only child at home right now. Others were mine alone. There were adventures of the spirit and of the body. There was good food and delicious drinks. There was the opportunity for creative expression.

I think about the essence of Sunday -- a handbasket to be filled sparsely or generously with experiences, a day dramatically different from Saturday, if you are a Sabbath observer. I ponder the lifesaving quality of the weekend for all people, but especially those who are deprived of unstructured time, oppressed by the commitments of work during the week. I regret the melancholy I have experienced on so many Sunday evenings, the threat of Monday encroaching, muttering in my ear, breathing down my collar. The marked absence of that dreaded feeling -- Monday as a bully -- is a gift, recently acquired. A great tikkun is underway.

My focus is fading. It is time, finally, for dreams. I think about this particular, inimitable Sunday and recall that it began with a reservoir walk with my husband of 26 years, early in the uncomplicated morning.

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