An assignment turns into a revealing record of emotions

By Sherri Wright |  Illustrations by Patti Shreeve
From the Holiday 2019 issue


Running in Rehoboth
November 5, 2018:  

Before I realize it I have sprinted the half mile to the elementary school. My legs are warm and fluid, my breathing a quiet hum, taking in the spicy orange and yellow leaves and pungent pine needles herringboned on the pavement by last night’s rain. I think about my mother who used to love being outdoors at this time of the year. Raking leaves, digging dahlia bulbs, picking copper-colored mums. Grateful that yesterday she was doing well.




I shade my eyes to look at the rippling white bridge reflecting on the surface of Silver Lake. Clusters of iridescent mallards in their new teal plumage converse in guttural tones. A disciplined V of cormorants flies overhead. Across the lake a stately great blue heron stalks the edge of brittle brown grasses. Lightning fast she thrusts her neck, stabs her beak into a fish and pulls it out of the water. I stop to watch. She spreads her graceful wings wider than I am tall, lifts off the water and soars, her long lanky legs trailing.

Every day I note my mileage along with the number of great blue herons I see. Today I spot three more of the regal creatures.

I lower the zipper on my fleece vest and slip my headband into my pocket to feel the gentle gust off the ocean. Tide is low. The surf is soft. I stop to stretch my legs and inhale the quiet of

a middle-of-the-week morning. Scanning the horizon I try to imprint this watercolor of sand, water and sky.


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