Solitary Saunter

Kathy Stilwell-GracePlays
3 min readJul 3, 2020


Time to evacuate

Arise from your cushion

Shed what is no longer needed

Compost what has fed you

Lace up your hiking boots

Today’s itinerary continues

Note the blooming hydrangeas

The Oakleaf drupes, the snowballs

and the lady in red…with its blue blossoms

Consult your compass, designate your direction.

Fulfill your promises set your course.

The small stream burbles.

The larger one flows hidden in the undergrowth

contentedly moving downward.

Tenderly moisten your knees, hips and ankles…

The aging joints carrying you along your path.

Invite the inner chorus…

the ones often unseen but still present,

occasionally directing traffic.

Hear the soft steady syncopation of your feet upon the ground.

Ignore your snarl at an interruption and disruption

as an SUV invades the morning leaving its putrid scent in its wake.

Now, another stream with a longer fall and a heartier voice.

The return disturbance of the vehicle.

The driver waves. He didn’t used to.

He averted his gaze, stony expression avoiding connection.

This softened demeanor a testimony.

Testimony to the change driven by my hand raised in greeting

after a relaxation of my annoyance surely written across my features.

A small gesture with significant echoes of warmth and welcome.

Return to the solitary saunter Listen to the trills, whistles and chirps…

Birds I cannot name like the same people one passes every day

on their way through their daily routine.

You recognize each other through familiarity

but you seldom venture closer

than the brief nod of recognition.

The lethal virus fades into the horizon.

A physical respite from the heightened onslaught

raging across our country’s hospitals and morgues.

Rather than allowing its magnified presence

within the theater of my mind,

I return my focus and my attention to my solitary saunter.

Bugs can be a bother to my eyes and ears.

But the sound of the birds

with the rhythm of my feet brings me back to center.

The team inside is watchful and quiet.

One or another leaning forward slightly.

Adjusting position. Registering their presence.

Familiar yet unexplored. Taciturn and watchful.

We approach each other with tender curiosity.

A touch to the branch of the Basswood tree, with a U Turn

to my solitary saunter back toward home.

Yet home is here within my spirit,

vibrating in my belly,

throbbing in my throat.

The forest encloses me in a soft circle of recognition and mutual respect.

Its as if a gentle arm is laid across my shoulders

to accompany me as I journey.

It acknowledges and gives weight to the forest within

where the critters and the insects and the plants and the trees maintain an ecosystem…

a universe as magnificent and mysterious and astonishing as that which lies above.

They seem to join and merge and coalesce into a single entity of splendor… A complex simplicity… A symphony of synchronicity.

Gazing downward into the pool at the base of the tree,

I see what lies above me in the same measure of infinity.

An endless row of reflections beginning and ending through me…

The ebb and flow of the ocean currents,

the weather patterns of earth’s atmosphere,

the dark, dense silence of outer space.

Endless mystery, never ending possibility, ongoing potential…

Let it be good, let it be wise, let it be equal and fair.

May the words flowing from of me travel downward through infinity,

expand outward soaking Into the soil of humanity.

The return journey has a lilt to it.

A sense of joyful familiarity,

a cohesive bonding with what has gone before…

a celebration of the prodigal… a welcoming… a gathering in…

a festival…a feasting…a happy reunion.

A place where all are welcome and all are fed, renewed, rejuvenated.

The scent of honeysuckle drifts like a cloud entering my senses with a silent celebration from the physical, organic, bodily connection with here and now.

A seam is sewn… pieces stitched together. A fabric is constructed and continues.

My physical, sensate, organic vessel moves on the shore of a vast new wilderness…

The exploration continues. I am home. I am here. I matter. My matter matters. kas