It’s just a simple front door yet for me it is the door to my freedom. After nine months of being afraid to go out that door due to a threatening upstairs tenant I am finally free! I can finally walk out my door without fear of intimidation or reprisals. The tenant moved out on the 4th of July giving even more meaning to Independence Day for me. In the days that followed I often found myself crying for what I thought was no reason but now realize it was just relief that it was finally over. So it was that on this past Sunday night I found myself yearning for a walk, and while I often walk to the bog which is out the back door and behind my house, tonight I wanted to go for a walk into town.
I took off my flip-flops; laced up my sneakers, and boldly stepped out my front door into the muggy gray summer’s evening. Though it was after 7:30 PM there was still enough light for me to see and to walk. I did not take my binoculars or camera. In all ways I just wanted to be free. At this time of night on a Sunday evening the traffic is relatively light as I walk down the street towards town. I pass a park where children play soccer while family and friends watch. The cement sidewalk beneath my feet is shifted this way and that from frost heaves and tree roots. I must be aware of my feet or I will stumble and fall. I look at the houses around me, admiring the New England Architecture. I try to take it all in and absorb the feeling of this place. A little ways past the soccer field I come to a stone bridge that crosses the Shawsheen River which meanders lazily below. I feel that tranquility permeate my being as I walk on.
Down Main Street I stroll gazing constantly around me. Green trees tower over the street, over the rooftops, framing the sky. I hear the twittering of chimney swifts and look up to see them fluttering through the bits of open sky. Though their flight looks so erratic, it is also swift; thus their name and I feel as if my heart were flying up there with them. For most of the rest of my way home I will hear their cheerful twitters as I walk. Could it be that they are celebrating their freedom as I am?
I turn on Harding Street to High Street and then head home past Sacred Heart Park. The night is advancing now to twilight and I must hurry back. I feel the sweat beading up on me from all the humidity in the air. When I walk past the Soccer Fields of Sacred Heart Park I see a flock of robins searching for worms in the fading light. I am still amazed that I am walking free, that I can come back home to my own front door and open it and step through and be safe. And whenever I want to I can open the door and fly free again.
I intend to take many more walks now. Next time I will bring both bins and camera and record what I see. I feel I can finally get to know this town I live in, and perhaps get back to being myself.