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Walking my neighborhood sidewalks on a cool-ish, gorgeous fall Saturday afternoon, suddenly I was falling down into the rabbit hole….into a place of nostalgia that brought me back to my childhood.

It’s always funny to me at what moves me, and when.

It’s usually at the most unexpected moments.

My neighborhood sidewalks, in the older section of roads, are uneven and warped. They are overgrown with grass from lawns. The pavement is rutted and popping up from roots and frost heaves over many cold winters. They are overhung with tree limbs, some I need to hold up with my hands as I walk underneath.

And….those types of sidewalks take me back to my childhood.

I’m a walker.

I’ve always been a walker, more to fuel my need for introversion and time alone than for exercise.

Walking has made me who I am. (Miracles come quietly…when I am quiet.)

And I love the rutted, roots-popping-up, natural.

I’ve thrived in nature, in fresh air, cold and heat, summer and winter, rain and sunshine, gentle snowfalls under shining moons, and Halloween-witch windswept black cloudy night skies. These are the experiences that fulfill me deeply, build me up.

Being outside, walking, is what I like to do most.

One of my favorite smells is “fall.” Is “fall” a smell, you ask? When the air turns cold and crisp and there has been rain and wind dropping brightly colored leaves to the ground, that is what makes up the smell of “fall.” It’s the scent of earth and rain and wet leaves. It’s fresh.

And so today….walking my neighborhood sidewalks, suddenly, I was slipping down into the abyss. Remembering.

I remembered walking to Perry School in first grade wearing a plaid dress with puffed sleeves…and Lyseth Elementary….and Lyman Moore Middle School through the path at the end of Brook Road. A school bus was available, but often I chose to walk. I needed the time alone before the extroverted school day. I needed the fresh air to wake me up.

Outside, I can breathe easily.

As a grown up, I bought a home in a neighborhood where my sons could do the same.

They walked to school until high school which I believed was incredibly important for them to spend time quietly, outside, discovering who they are. I wanted them to experience what has given me so much pleasure.

They, too, are introverted. They are thinkers. They absorb the nature and aesthetics around them.

I love my neighborhood, my community, my state…..and the old sidewalks that line our suburban roads.

It’s comforting to experience…and to remember.

Nostalgia: a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

Sometimes, in our days, it’s great to live there, in nostalgia, to bring us up and quiet the noise of today.

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