“If you seek creative ideas go walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.” — Raymond I. Myers.

Vacations are bookended by busyness. You work to get everything done before you leave and rush to catch up when you get back. With a week at home under my belt, have to’s were coloring my October gray, despite returning to vibrant trees, despite the wild tumble of flowers in our yard, prolific though they’ve received little care as of late.

Still a bit jet lagged, I met Sunday with a frown, overlaid with a dread of Monday and all that had to be done to meet deadlines and make meetings and appointments. Glum thoughts built like thunderclouds, our grand girls’ volleyball and soccer games failing to lift my spirits.

Escape Hatch

With an hour to spare in the city before we were meeting our daughter Kate for supper, Spark had an errand to run. Rather than grousing to him about this and that, I suggested he drop me at Des Peres Park so I could take a walk, hoping when he returned I’d be in a better frame of mind.

The scenery was gorgeous there, a lakeside meandering path before me, alongside the path all manner of folks enjoying the crisp, fall day, picnics and ballgames in full swing, kids on the playground reveling in the last dregs of pleasant weather, dogs on leashes prancing about like they owned the place. How I wished the peaceful vibes of nature and mankind would right my downturn, how I asked for that to happen as I made turns around the lake, my mind circling with my body.

Taking a different route that went down a hill and along attractive backyards, my cellphone rang, though it was almost out of juice. The 11 percent charge was just enough for a call from a friend. “You’re an angel,” I said, thinking hearing from her might turn my day around. She talked about taking time for self and the importance of filling yourself up when you feel depleted.

Too soon we had to cut our conversation short, and I walked on, a bit better but still worrying as I made the turn back to the lake, trying to make a mental list of things I was grateful for, which sometimes works to combat a foul mood.

A Cheery Message

Then I saw it just ahead on the paved path, a big bright-red, smiley face, a goodwill sign I couldn’t ignore, that I walked right over on my way down the hill. How could I have missed it — I wondered — as my face broke into a matching smile accompanied by an upturn of my head, a thank you directed to the heavens.

I’d been praying before to have my mood lifted, now I realized something outside myself had sent me just what I needed — a call from a friend and a smiley face, which might not sound miraculous but sure felt that way.

After that my eyes opened, and another sign was revealed, a man lying in the grass next to the lake completely at peace, his face turned to the warm sun. I took his lead, selected a spot on a rock and just sat, doing nothing but taking in the air and beauty around me, and being grateful because things didn’t seem so bad anymore.

Everything would get done in due time — and worries that I had about this and that shrunk from gargantuan to bitty, all because of a blessed walk in the park.