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I was not happy to see fog this morning, I’m not going to lie.  Before I got up I could hear the cars sushing by on Polo, and groaned a little into the pillow.  The dripping maple outside my window accompanied teeth-brushing, and I resigned myself to dampness as I pulled on a fleece.

I’m a fog snob.  I like it in the mountains, when it has peaks and valleys to play with, and where it keeps you from seeing the top of a climb, where it forces you to live in the moment of each step up the hill.  But I’ve yet to love Winston-Salem fog.  This city does not wear it with much grace.  The buildings seem concerned about their hair.  My fellow students don rainjackets reluctantly.  It’s the third day of wet in a row, so even the pretty patterned rain boots are looking bedraggled.

And the people with curls are layering on the anti-frizz cream, and the fields are turning to minor marshlands while Canadian geese encamp on the intramural soccer pitch, and Shag on the Mag, Wake Forest’s sundresses-and-seersucker spring dance, looks like it will once again be Shag in the Mud.  And if it’s like last year, it will take them a solid six months to regrow the grass on the magnolia quad afterward.

But for all my grumping, fog and rain do a good job of bringing the world back down to earth.  They dirty things up to make them cleaner.  Colors blend together and harmonize beneath the fog.  People talk less, but the ground talks more, squelching a squooshing and soaking up life.  And every now and then you pass by a girl who embraces the whole scene with her hood down, and her hair happily poofy and laced with tiny droplets, and when the sun glances out for a moment and the angle’s just right, you find a crystal diadem sparkling and alive above her face.  And you smile, and she usually smiles back, and the sun fades out and the fog settles back, muffling the wet tread of your feet.


There are some days when it’s not enough to just go for a run.  There are some days I have to leap, to bound.  This afternoon, starting out on the path was good.  But when an obliging wall offered itself, there was nothing to do but jump up and skip along that.  And then a park bench.  And then there were branches to bounce over on the trails behind Reynolda House.  And there was mud to dance around (I always end up pretending I’m Legolas when there’s mud or snow).  And rank upon rank of daffodils filling the woods.  One of those ocurrences you look at and know it didn’t happen naturally, but dear God it’s beautiful.  And you turn your face to the sun along with the flowers, and fling your arms wide, and keep on running, and you have a brief thought that maybe if you weren’t breathing hard, this is what heaven would feel like.  You know, C.S. Lewis’ heaven from The Last Battle.  The description that very much made me want to die when I first read it at the tender age of 9.  But then I wonder if maybe we’ll be breathing hard in heaven, too.  Maybe there will still be exertion and struggle.  Just not the kind tinged with despair.  The kind only filled with hope and with joy, and the beautiful pounding of your heart when it says “Yes, I am strong, and alive.”  Maybe that will still be there.  I hope so.  Days like this, days like this: they are why I run.

So, the one thing guaranteed about a blog is that if the author stops writing, people will stop reading.  They may stop reading anyway, but unless you’ve been living Groundhog Day, you probably don’t have a reason to still be looking at Walk Softly.  That should be changing.  And this paragraph is an effort to elicit response from anybody’s who’s RSS’d this blog or set notifications or the like.  If you’re still around, ‘twould be good to know. Give a holler.

But why am I restarting?  Well, basically, because I’m happy again.  Because I don’t look around me and see darkness anymore.  Because I can feel again.  The mire became rather deep last semester, and I sank pretty low.  Low enough to stop writing.  Because for me writing isn’t a life raft.  It isn’t a help in the horribly dry, hard times.  If I feel spiritually dead, and alone, and empty, I can’t write.  It just isn’t there.  Attempts to publish or even journal feel like trying to squeeze toothpaste from an empty tube.  My writing is a reflection of what’s inside me at the moment.  If it’s craptastic, I’m probably having a crummy day – the ingrown, self-referential, groveling kind of crummy day.  If it’s good, I’m probably riding an epiphany or a new outpouring of grace.  There have even been days when I’ve gotten my face fully under the chocolate fountain of God’s love with my mouth open wide and been able to let it pour over my head and get stuck in my ears.  The writing from those days is amazing.  But when my writing is dull, or dead, or creepingly mediocre – when there’s a pasted-on veneer of art over an empty cardboard shell – that’s when things have gotten bad.  I look at unpublished poetry from last fall, and I see that.  This was some sucky stuff.  But I’m not there anymore.  The seasons change, and so do we.  Or perhaps I should say, the seasons are changed, and so are we.

Thank God.  

If you want to get caught up on the details of what’s been going on, give me a call.  I want to hear what’s up in your life, too.  I’ve disappeared from more circles than just blogging…  If there’s anyone reading who lacks my number, my apologies.  But the story should seep out over the next couple months, regardless.  Just bear with me as I get back up to speed.