A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell

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People are her third favorite species, she says. First cats. Then dogs. Or, no, wait–fourth favorite species. The Central Park horses are number three.

Last Sunday we went on a family hike, or “forced march into the woods,” as I like to call it.

The thing is, I’m probably the happiest person I know, but something about, I don’t know, the entire fucking world was kind of getting me down last weekend, and so when plans to go see a play fell through at the last minute (literally, the last minute. We were at the door but there were no more seats.), I took my friend up on her suggestion for a walk and forced the rest of the family to attend.

And I don’t think I’ve laughed that much since the inauguration. You know, the one attended by millions and millions of people. Yes it was. Was so! WAS SO! NO I’M NOT, YOU ARE!

On our walk I laughed at all of us (well, most of us) shimmying down hills on bellies and bums atop that frozen crust that’s passing for snow this winter. And I laughed at my boys, unable to keep their legs under themselves. I laughed at my dear husband’s expression as he watched this family he’d managed to assemble, all of us limbs akimbo in the forest, the incredulousness that this was how we were behaving.

I even laughed as my youngest slid over the edge of a ravine and barreled toward the rushing river below. Aw, relax, it was a short ravine. The river was more of a stream. He was fine. He survived.

Thing is, I laughed. It felt weird. And good. It’s easy, it’s always easy, to get caught up in how hard life can be. The disagreements, the worry, the bills, the weirdness, and not good weirdness, the bad weirdness. It can be so hard.

And then comes a day. The sky brightish, the woods welcomingish. We say yes to a walk. We find comfort in the cold, the ice, the endless gray and brown that marks a woods in winter.

And we laugh. And we are better for it.

5 thoughts on “A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell

  1. Just exactly what I needed to read this morning. Thank you. Yes to walks in the woods and laughter and friendship. We’re going to get through this, one hike at a time. xo

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