January’s sting smarts my rounded cheeks as I walk: with each step, my lungs heave, my eyes blink in the sun’s brilliance, all the while focused upon my sandal’s next step on the sidewalk. My helper supports my left elbow, and my right hand taps the road with my cane when needed for balance. A lemon drop moistens my mouth.

I feel shrink-wrapped in my polyester car coat that absorbs the afternoon sun and toasts my sweatered-body. The ground is still squishy following recent rain and snow showers and breathes its willingness to foster growing things. Only with periodic stops do I look around and catch my bearings:

Two male cardinals perch on a feeder in a neighbor’s side yard; six-inch patches of daffodil blades pierce the moist earth in a garden; a golden retriever, with a bandanna tied around his neck, barks behind a link fence, his tail wagging; ghost-like Missouri honeysuckle vines squiggle along the sides of the asphalt path; a squirrel cross-hatches the trunk of an old oak and disappears; a solitary black cat with white markings on its throat and paws yawns in the sun and saunters by like a socialite followed by her admirers.

Halfway home, we pause. I lean against a chipped painted guardrail near the service path and again catch my breath. The show continues. Two blue birds flit among low-lying branches of the viburnum shrub, then dart out of sight. Nearby, two robust teens, their braided hair covered with earmuffs, laugh and jog, smart phones in their gloved hands. 

Sunday’s color and quiet renew me. I give thanks …