For most of my life, I have lived in rural settings; so living in town was not something I was really looking forward to when we moved here three and a half years ago. While I was grateful for the house and ministry work that the Lord provided at just the right time, I was surprised by some unexpected benefits and pleasures of town-living. When we move, one thing that I will miss is our morning and afternoon walks. My husband and I, and sometimes one or more of the children, take the dog on the mile loop to give her exercise; but we also enjoy the activity and time together or alone. I want to remember some of the details that I am sure will fade with time; so today, come along with me as we walk.
As we cross Main Street, a beautiful brick church is in front of us. Its architecture reveals that it was once an Orthodox church; and in spring, a lovely pink dogwood tree blooms in the yard. As we turn down the back alley, we catch a glimpse of the mountains. In certain seasons, mist lays in the valleys. For some reason, the mist reminds me of the Holy Spirit’s presence. We pass several black walnut trees that drop their fruit in the fall. Sometimes I load my pockets with nuts, or we kick them into the gutter so they do not end up smashed on the pavement. Behind the walnut trees is the Mt. Sinai Church with yellow stuccoed walls. On certain days of the week, the men’s choir is practicing; and their harmony drifts in the air. One of the voices is so low, you can feel the rumble in your chest.
Further down the alley, the Mayor is out washing his vehicles or working in his shop. We stop to chat about the weather; and in September, he tells us we can harvest his grapes. Along the alley is a long stone wall made by Italian stone masons when the town was built in the early 1900s. In late summer, the hill that is held back by the wall is covered in morning glories of various purple and pink hues. As we continue, we pass the pear tree that is just beginning to bloom now. In September, we also are privileged to harvest the pears. Passing several houses, the Fire Chief is out back grilling fish or burgers. He likes to chat about gardening. He grows quite a variety of vegetables in small beds around his house. When his granddaughter is visiting, she rushes over to pet Daisy through the fence. A few houses down, an older gentlemen is often out tinkering around his shed. He has such a kind voice and a friendly greeting.
Next is an old high school leftover from the days of segregation turned into a social club. Sometimes a tantalizing smell wafts in the air as several men cook barbecued ribs in barrels converted into smokers. Across from the club, the cherry plum trees are in full bloom right now. Lacey white blossoms will produce bright red miniature plums in a few months. They are a delicious sweet and sour burst in your mouth.
As we arrive at the park, in the morning, the birds sings sweetly and we may see flocks of yellow finches, sparrows, or robins. Several times we have spotted deer on the hill; and once, a bear startled me. Depending on the season, the blooms of the red bud or the honey suckle can be seen. If we are early enough, we will meet some other walkers. A woman in a blue athletic suit walks and swings her weights. We exchange “‘Mornin.'” Mr. City-councilman sports an ornately carved wooden cane and sings spirituals in a strong baritone voice. He always stops to make a fuss over Daisy. In the afternoon, on a warm day, groups of children or teens will be playing basketball, baseball, or riding bikes. Many of the young ones will call out “There’s Daisy!” and want to pet her. After rounding the park and starting back down the alley, in the summer, a grandmother often sits on her back stoop keeping an eye on several grandchildren. She seems a little shy; but once when we visited Mt. Sinai Church, she said her goal for the year was to learn to read. I thought that was quite inspiring to never stop wanting to learn.
When we arrive back on our alley, the coolness hits us and the rush of the creek can be heard. It has been a lovely walk. Thanks for joining me!