Walking Journal / Walking

Walk 1 – Central Park

. 3 min read . Written by Russell Smith
Walk 1 – Central Park

I felt Nature slowing me down

Even with the planes flying overhead occasionally and the cars driving by, it seems quieter here than in most of the city. Central Park contains less than 17 acres organized into a rough square. I found it as quiet along the edges of the park as the center.

I walked slower than my usual pace. Much slower. I didn’t mind. It simply was the pace of the walk. Sometimes, true, nature erupts or fissures or quakes in sudden moments of terror. But usually nature crawls and acts through the force of indomitable time. I felt Nature slowing me down. Slow. Slow.

Usually, I can’t stand having wet socks. On a long ruck, I might even change socks. The dew still hung close and tight to the ground. I walked off the pavement path, not caring a whit for wet sneakers or socks. I beelined for sights that called to me, mostly trees, whether near a path or not. I paused at the trees. I felt their rugged bark. I observed their fractal branches, ever reaching, reaching. Alas, I cannot tell you what kinds of trees I saw. A knowledge of the names we have given natural creations is a huge gap in my education.

For a park located, well, in the central area of Louisville, the wildness struck me. Greenness sprouted everywhere, piercing the human-made gray paths, also ever reaching upward. I looked at the houses bordering the park, most dating from the late 1800s or early 1900s. How long would any remnant of them linger without the constant maintenance of humanity? Five hundred years? One thousand? The onslaught of wildness would annihilate them in a blink of Nature’s eye.

During the summers, the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival puts on at least three plays of the Bard and other shows. The production of Macbeth this year was mesmerizing. Alas, rain washed out the show of Love's Labor's Lost a friend and I tried to attend. I walked the amphitheater, reading all the plaques and viewing the pillar of theater masks.

I don't know why, but I teared up reading "From the Little Girl in the Back Row." I wondered whether the Carriage House Players knew the Little Girl was watching from the back row, before the plaque was placed. I wondered whether they played for only the Little Girl. I wondered at the delight they all felt in the play, and the playing, and the watching.