I went for a walk alone on Monday. This would not be notable in any particular way except it felt rare. Other than going upstreet to John Papas or the Bargain Box, it had been some time since I last headed out on my own.
It was the tail end of a mild afternoon. The red-brown grass along Lazy Point Road was luminous. Ten minutes out, 10 minutes back: I had a phone call to make on the hour. I picked up bits of trash on the roadside. I found a buoy inscribed with two digits that, if I looked at them a certain way, seemed to spell the word “be.”
People talk about mindfulness a lot these days. There are apps for that, with soothing voices coaching us to let thoughts rise and fall, like leaves carried on a breeze. I found the buoy and its message of just being and was not surprised in the least.
There had been a lot of water in the saltmarsh in January. Cyclical high tides combined with the east wind on many days covered the spartina and carried in all sorts of things that lodged against the road grades, like a lifelike goose decoy that I pulled from the grass and brush and handed to a man I had met a few times before and who had stopped his van to say good morning.
Farther along, I noticed a figure in a long, dark coat walking a distance up the road. I slowed my own steps to avoid catching up and spoiling her alone time. Ten minutes were about up; I took a photograph of my shoes and the buoy and another of the sunset. Though less than a quarter-mile from my door, I had traveled halfway around the world, if measured by the extent of my reveries.