Walking Backward

The “walking backward” in the title of this piece isn’t a euphemism. I mean it literally.

It snowed last night, not enough to cover the sidewalks or trees with anything other than a dusting that quickly melted, but snow seems to accumulate on my front ramp, and since there is frigid air above and below the ramp, the snow stays around. I didn’t have a chance to sweep the ramp before I left for work, so I did the next best thing: I walked down the ramp backward so that it looked as if I had arrived home (in case anyone was looking for trouble) rather than that I’d left for the day. I was careful, of course, stepping warily and holding on to the railing, so I made it down the ramp safely.

The thieving neighbor moved, so perhaps such a maneuver wasn’t as important today as it has been in the past when he trolled the streets, but still, I keep getting tarot cards reminding me to be prudent, so I’m being especially cautious nowadays. Of course, I don’t need the cards to tell me to be prudent since I generally am careful, but it’s always good to be reminded that the world isn’t as safe as I would wish it to be.

The snow was melted by the time I got back, so it’s possible my footsteps didn’t hang around long, but still, it did tickle me seeing my shoe prints leading up to the house as I was walking away, so the exercise was worth it on that account alone.

This cold, cold, cold weather will hang around for a few days, with possibly a few flakes of snow drifting our way again, which is fine with me. I do well when the temperature remains fairly consistent, but bobbing barometers wreak havoc with my system. Either I tend to fall asleep during the day or I lie awake most of the night, or both. It’s also easier to figure out how to dress appropriately. And that’s important to me. Even though the people I work for are more than willing to give me a ride home when the weather is inclement, I insist on walking, which seems to bemuse them. To me, it’s about a habit of independence, to keep me on my feet as long as possible. That, too, is literal, and not a euphemism. Being able to stand and walk — backward and forward — are so very important, especially to those of us who are no longer young.


Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

3 Responses to “Walking Backward”

  1. Carol J. Garvin Says:

    Being able to walk is something I’m learning to appreciate more and more as I wait for knee replacement surgery. I can walk, and I do, but more slowly these days, and with a cane.

    Your story reminds me of a time when we were leaving home for a few days following a fresh snowfall. After backing out of the garage towards the street, my hubby stopped at the end of the driveway. Realizing the single set of tire tracks made our departure obvious, he drove back and forth to the garage door a couple more times before we left for good, hoping to convey an active household. All it probably did was confuse any watching neighbours, but it made us feel better about leaving the empty house. LOL.

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