Friday is my typical day in town. I go on Frigga's day because I can meet with a bunch of fellow fiber folk (though none are followers of Frigga) to knit or spin or whatever at the Page Farm and Home Museum on the University of Maine campus. I often deliver eggs or other produce, in season, and do any necessary shopping on that day, as well.
Today, lacking electricity, I heated water on the stove to wash eggs, delegated fowl chores to Tractor Guy and headed out as soon as I could. Since there was no computer to access the shipping address for the hex sign I just completed, nor to drill the mounting holes, that project got moved to Saturday. I did have chicken and duck eggs to deliver, and the dog food bin was emptied with the morning feeding. With rain in the forecast -- and much spinning having been done by the light of the kerosene lamps last night -- I loaded only my knitting and the eggs for my trip to town.
When I stopped for coffee at the gas station where we often grab a drink and muffin on our town days, I found that I was much earlier than usual. It seemed a good day to try to locate the Central Penjajawoc Preserve. I had often seen signs for it on Essex Street on my way into town but had never stopped. Today I did.
Getting out of the truck I found that they claimed a 1 1/2 mile loop trail and set off for a bit of exploration. I had not planned to walking the entire distance, but upon reaching the sign indicating the loop, I decided to walk on. The distance shown on the drawing did not look to be more than twice the bit I had walked to that point.
I am not sure if it was not to scale, of if they did not include the walk up to the loop in their distance calculations, but after walking a bit.. and finding interesting things "just up the trail a ways" I realized that (a) no one knew where I was and (b) though it was actually IN Bangor, it did not appear to be a popular destination. "But it's only a mile and an half" I told myself. "You can do this" I reiterated.
While my docs have been after me to walk "for exercise" I really don't do things without a "real" purpose. Exercise happens while farming. Meditation happens while spinning. And connecting with the cycles of the seasons and the divine happens while doing other stuff... like spinning, and like pushing my body beyond what it really wanted to do.
The group of Pagans that I fellowship with most often, the Fellowship of the Wild, holds rituals from time to time on hiking trails in the area. I have not walked with them for some time, and though they are having an event on Saturday, I will be in another area that day and honestly was not sure about my ability to keep up with a group of youngsters! After today, I am pretty sure that I will need to work up to any sort of decent pace or distance, but walking slowly along -- mostly alongside -- the very wet and soggy and even flooded trail today... moving from balancing on a rock to walking over tree roots to avoid ankle deep puddles.. without the help of my "third leg" (my stick) and instead relying on the help of nearby trees... I did it.
My knees were fine... except for when I needed to limbo under a tree blocking the trail. LOL I may ave beat out all the kids doing the limbo at the roller rink while pregnant with my second daughter, but that was in a universe long ago and far away! This time I had to walk around and climb over. My right thigh, though, which has been complaining for several weeks and threatening to not support me when I stand or climb stairs was put to the test. Bitch, muscles, all you want... but you WILL do it!
I greeted the Colt's Foot flowers at the head of the trail. I hailed the water as each little stream made its way over the rocks along side the trail. I greeted evergreens both large and small and said hello to a grove of maples and another of oak. I waved a spring greeting to the beech trees here and there along the way; they still cling to last year's leaves, tan banners waving in the wind.
I stopped, briefly, at a large rock and offered a bit of shed birch bark with a hail to Frigga and her Ladies. And I walked on... and on... and on.
Like I said, my long, strong stride of the past was not with me today. I walked the slow tread of the crone that I am. I hoped that power would be restored by the time I returned home, so that a hot Epsom salt bath could be in my future (and it shall be).
And I saw the early spring woods, poised on the edge of bursting into life. I thought of my colleagues who will be walking and offering up their thanks for the turning of the year on the morrow.
And eventually, I saw the sign leading back to the parking lot and Artie, my cooling coffee and the eggs to deliver.
And it was good.