A WALK IN SPRINGTIME
By Robin Benzle
Comon. Put on some sturdy walking boots and join me on a walk I once took.
It’s late Spring in Cleveland, about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The sky is blinding blue and the air holds just enough chill to pinken the cheeks. I head down the driveway and notice my perennials straining through the dirt, coming alive once again to spend their summer vacation at my house.
The neighborhood is quiet – most people aren’t home from work yet, and their dogs peek at me through curtains, wishing I was their master to let them out. I clear my head with a little trick I do: I close out all noises and concentrate on nothing but the sounds of birds (when you focus on it, it’s amazing how noisy it suddenly becomes). Crows pierce the air with their obnoxious caws; chickadees chatter and seem to follow you for a few trees; happy robins run across the lawn, beeping. But mostly, high in the trees, I hear cardinals calling to one another in search of companionship. Their song sounds beautiful, and I suppose it must have to be, because my father told me they mate for life.
I walk on. I pass two young boys in a blue plastic pool the same exact color as the sky. Their arms are freckled with goosebumps and they hug themselves from the cold, but they don’t care. They’ve waited all winter for this, it’s sunny, and darn it, they’re going in the pool. (I’m hoping their parents take them out tonight for the first ice-cream cone of the season.)
I walk on. There is a meadow not far from my house - yes, what I would call an honest-to-goodness meadow. It sits on the edge of a wooded park just outside the end of my street - a couple of acres big, framed by woods and filled with whatever wild grasses meadows have. As I turn the corner, my meadow comes into view and I am delighted at the sight of a million bright yellow dandelions, young and healthy, pretending to be a field of sunflowers. I chuckle, thinking that about two months from now, I’ll be armed with a spray bottle filled with some kind of skull and crossbones stuff to kill those nasty weeds that are choking my lawn.
I walk on. I head for Another Neighborhood, towards a street I call ‘Perfect Lane’. It’s about ten houses long on either side and each and every house has a putting-green lawn with a tree in the middle. The houses are newer and their styles vary from faux-Tudor split-level to Modern Colonial Normandy. Not one has so much as a peel of paint showing; and they all seem to have bisque-colored, perfectly pleated curtains hanging in the windows. At each and every house, a cement walk leads to the front door, which naturally has a perfectly pruned bush on either side. And I’m absolutely sure that soon, they will all have perfect rows of red and white begonias lining the walk. It’s a Stepford kind of a place.
I walk on. I make my way home and nothing much happens, until suddenly I spot a single sock by the side of the road. Another alien sock. Or perhaps a divorced sock. They always seem to be black and quite flattened, like they’ve been living there near the sewer grate for awhile. I think about how it got there. Maybe it shot out of a dryer vent somewhere.
Well, we’re back from our walk. Feel good? Hey, thanks for joining me. Let’s do it again sometime.