The Stories I Tell ~ from The Word Cellar

Stories. Anecdotes. A free round of words for everyone!

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I love stories. I'm the one at social functions with a dozen new anecdotes. But I worry about hogging the conversation. Sometimes I tell myself that I'll be quiet and let others do the talking. But no matter how hard I try, my stories insist on bursting out! Here I can let my stories (the classics that I tell again and again, as well as new ones that unfold along the way) run free. I'm a professional writer and editor, and sole proprietor of The Word Cellar. I write for a variety of publications and clients on everything from green buildings and nuclear reactors to entrepreneurship and the arts. If you need words written, edited, or enlivened, I can help. Contact me.


Lean Into the Wind

Last Thursday, the sky was blue, the air warm, the wind strong. I put on a new pair of black workout pants with hot pink racing stripes and set out on a walk around the neighborhood. I moved quickly, pushing my feet against the pavement, my body against the wind, my mind against distractions. I don't exercise enough, and this was my chance to burn some of the calories that accumulate while I sit in front of a computer all day.

Step-step-step! Walk-walk-walk! Push-push-push!

And then suddenly, somewhere on Danbury Drive, I remembered the pleasure of just walking. I used to just walk all the time: On hot summer streets as a teenager, with no escape from the small-town high school dramas in which I starred, looking for some privacy beyond my bedroom walls. Around my small, green, safe college campus, alone or with a friend, in-between classes or late at night with a clove cigarette. In London, to the outdoor market or in public squares, trying to blend in with the crowds, lonely, and desperate to make a connection. I used to just walk.

Now, I suit up, head out, stare ahead. I try to maximize my effort, combine my exercise and relaxation into one multi-tasking jaunt. I'll stop and smell the roses, but I'd better break a sweat along the way.

But on Thursday, I slowed down and just walked. I felt the wind blowing hard against my front, pushing against me. Instead of trying to power through it, I let it wash over me. When I dropped my own resistance, the wind became just another element in the landscape surrounding me. I turned a corner and the wind was now at my back, pushing me forward ever so slightly. I turned another and it swept over my face, making my ears cold and blowing my hair this way and that. And still, I just walked. I slowed down, uncoiled, and did an extra lap around Quincy and Brattleboro just for the joy of it.

In all life lessons, symbols, and metaphors, the leap from the particular to the universal is inexact. What does it mean if I tell you that on Thursday I learned to lean into the wind? Should I spell it out with musings on "accepting what is" or "going with the flow"? I can link to this useful little post by Seth Godin about solving problems by leaning into them. Or should I leave it up to you to find the meaning in that phrase: lean into the wind?

I walk every day, even if it's just around my house. I should walk more. I want to walk more. It's easy, natural, thoughtless. Walking is a kind of meditation. And yet, some days, it feels so difficult. Sometimes my body is tired, my legs feel out of sync with the rest of me, and every movement forward requires great effort, as if I've never walked before or have been walking for a lifetime without end. Walking feels herky-jerky, cumbersome, laborious. On those days, I just want to sit, exhausted and still, resting all the parts of me. But resting turns into something else, and soon my mind is doing all the walking, frantically rushing from this problem to that worry. It's on those days that I remember to go out and just walk. And on the best days, everything flows.

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Anonymous Lisa said...

Hooray for you and your walk :-) I love this post and the way you describe your experience! Simply incredible.

Leave it to you to entrance us all with such a marvelous description of a walk around your neighborhood.

Thank you, thank you for your words and insights.

"In all life lessons, symbols, and metaphors, the leap from the particular to the universal is inexact." Holy cow!!! What a magnificent statement!!!

I am truly blessed to know you and to drink in the richness of your words, my friend.

3/19/2008 10:07 AM  
Blogger bella said...

What gorgeous writing here.
I could feel this moment with you, being there, just walking, the wind one more element of the present body experience and open awareness, taking it all in and letting it go again.
And to let this be what it was, knowing it holds power and yet not rushing into define or make a point- well, wow, that hit me in the heart and something exploded.
Walking is one of my own forms of mediation. It helps me to do with the body as a way of freeing my mind.
Feeling thankful today for having found you and your words and these gifts you are offering.

3/19/2008 3:31 PM  
Blogger Jennifer/The Word Cellar said...

Lisa and Bella: Thank you.

3/19/2008 3:43 PM  
Blogger Nix Sidhe said...

I used to do the same thing. Just walk for the sake of walking. I miss it so much. I can't even explain how much I miss it. I've noticed as I get older my mind makes up more excuses NOT to do things then TO do them. :(

3/19/2008 5:32 PM  

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