Audio Books Living Menlo Park Walking

The Couple

On my morning walks around the pond, I often see a married couple taking their own constitutional. They walk in perfect sync, stepping in time as if trained in a military march. In their right hands—always the right—they clutch large mugs emitting wisps of steam. Their elbows press close to their sides, steadying the mugs as they promenade along.

Every so often, maybe every 100 yards or so, some invisible signal makes them halt in unison. They raise their mugs and take long sips, black coffee I envision, turning to each other to exchange a few private words before pivoting in tandem to continue their measured pace.

This morning, while watching the couple’s syncopated steps carry them farther from view, I listened to Meryl Streep narrate Ann Patchett’s new novel Tom Lake on my headphones. She read a passage set at a Traverse City cherry farm, describing a summer visit before the harvest. The lush depiction of endless orchards with lush green grass under the trees heavy with green fruit made a lovely soundtrack for my walk through the neighborhood.

It was a peaceful start to the day, with the air very still and heavy with humidity. High overcast clouds blanketed the sky in an unbroken slate grey. The solemn couple marching away added a faint visual rhythm to accompany the cadence of Streep’s voice recounting the verdant cherry trees. I found myself wishing I could capture the mood of this moment – the mingled sights and sounds that made it so uniquely serene.