a moment of sameness

I live within the sound of Highway 401’s constant hum, a stone’s throw (a long walk or a short drive) from the beach, near a park where rabbits don’t stop eating grass still wet with dew when I stroll past; only when I pause to consider taking a picture do they become concerned.

I put my camera away. They resume munching.

A woman walks ahead of me with a backpack. She’s small and wears sneakers and I think maybe it’s not a woman but a girl… but no, something about the precision of her steps tells me she’s walked a lot further than any girl and when a big yellow lab named Haley lumbers over to say hello, I catch up to her and we’re all smiling and talking to Haley and I see that indeed the woman is not a girl but someone my own age.

Haley and her person go off in one direction while the woman and I continue in the other. I walk ahead of her now at a slightly faster clip and at a turn in the path I look back and see her standing on a small footbridge, taking a moment to watch the creek that runs underneath it. A common enough thing to do—I’ve done it a thousand times myself—yet something about it strikes me as unusual. The backpack and the way she walks tell me she’s going somewhere, punctuality is required, she’s not just out for a morning stroll. And yet, this pause. I have the idea that it might be a ritual. She seems the disciplined type, the sort that would have rituals, routines. It occurs to me (and within seconds I’ve made it a fact, in my own mind at least) that she might pause here every morning on her way to wherever, that she calculates the time to include this thirty second break, that perhaps it’s a kind of meditation, a moment of sameness in her day that she can compare to yesterday’s moment and express gratitude for today’s.

This is how it feels, though why it should feel this way I haven’t a clue.


The birds are noisy this morning, not merely singing their usual songs but an over-the-top joyful cacophony that reminds me of sunrise in the Everglades and I wonder if it’s this sudden warmth that has shot them through with adrenaline in the way it has us non-feathery types. (How else to explain some very strange maneuvers on the roads?)

[A distant screech of tires right on cue.]

The bluebells are out and I follow them along a path to a part of the creek where the most prominent sound is water tumbling over rock.
And there are trilliums. And bloodroot.
And buds on a wild apple tree that every year I mean to pick from to make wild apple crumble, but forget.

Back on the main path I see the woman veer off across a field that leads to the street and the bus stop and I notice the wind must have shifted because the sound of the 401 has all but disappeared.

I walk back over the footbridge, pause a moment, then carry on.
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10 thoughts on “a moment of sameness

  1. Lovely. And your mention of the rabbits reminded me of a pleasant event I witnessed about a week ago. My husband cooked dinner on the grill, and we decided to enjoy the nice weather and dine on the patio. First one rabbit, then another, then a third, then a fourth, began to scamper, romp, play and eat in the backyard. We watched, spoke quietly and they carried on for about 10 minutes or more — two of them at one point even approaching the edge of the patio before scampering back to the others. We just considered it dinner and a show. So nice. As is your story here. Love the shot of the bridge.

    1. What a great story. I love the dinner and show interpretation! I suppose it’s true that where you see one rabbit you can assume there are more about. We get them in the garden too, some years more than others. I always plant a little extra lettuce just in case…

      And isn’t it nice to be eating outside again? But then, in Nashville, you probably do that year round? We do too, in parkas! (:

      Here’s to warm days and sunshine and rabbits of course.

  2. The people who owned this house before us, must have fed the local bunnies on the back step … they don’t knock on the glass door but they do wait for … lettuce? Great post, Carin. It pleases the inner me for some reason that you paused on the bridge to see what the woman saw and photographed your shadow reflected in the stream.

    1. And they’re probably not the same bunnies, right? Which means the expected/maybe/sometimes feasts at your house have become some kind of bunny lore passed down through the generations. They probably have little wall scratchings of the garden layout on their warren walls.

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