The Slow-Cooked Sentence


Rachael Conlin Levy
February shadows on the Huffaker Hills’ Western Loop Trail, 1.4 miles.


1. A song or poem greeting the dawn.

2. A composition suggestive of morning.


After a rough night, sleep was a shawl that I struggled to shrug off, making the morning discordant and confused. I yelled goodbye to the three older kids from the bedroom where I was discovering that my neglect of the laundry would force me wear mismatched socks and my husband’s underwear.


Usually, the morning is synchronized, with my youngest son and I heading out the door for our morning walk at the same time the older kids leave for school. But today my two-year-old stood, jacket and boots on, waiting as I fished for a pair of jeans from the stuffed laundry hamper. I knew I should stay home and tackle the mountain of clothes, but instead we grabbed backpack and camera and headed for Huffaker Hills. (Here’s a PDF of a Truckee Meadows trail guide, which includes this hike and others.)

The morning walk — sometimes a 3o-minute loop around the Sparks Marina, other times an hour or more on a city trail — sets the mood and melody of the day. It is my aubade. I need this conversation with myself, occasionally interrupted by the chirps and chatters from the little boy on my back. I guess walking is my physical form of writing, if that makes any sense.

Ivan on my back

Given the day’s start, today’s walk was critical, so I sought out the gray and empty desert. I needed the vast expanse of sky, the city far off on my horizon, the trail’s rocks and mud demanding my concentration. We were enveloped in silence. We heard not a bird, saw not a soul, and although the rumble of a semi-truck and the whine of an airplane pressed against us, it didn’t shatter this peace. I wrapped it around my shoulders and felt renewed.

2 responses to “Aubade”

  1. mamapease says:

    I want to go walking with's just I have all my kids with me 🙂 Don't want to slow you down.

  2. Rachael Levy says:

    I'll go walking with you any day; your kids won't slow us down.


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