Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Strange Purposes of Winds

Today I saw an elderly man with a cane, standing among piles of rocks near a construction site. He was looking around in melancholy, almost as if measuring what had been lost. 

As I watched, the wind picked up pure green leaves along with the dust, and they all hung suspended in the air around him. 

It was like a hole had been opened in him, one that the sky swept down to fill. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Good Morning

"Sometimes I wish that I could sing or dance or paint or compose symphonies or build cathedrals to express somehow what all of this means to me. I wish I were a priest or a robin or a child or a sunset."

-Robert Benson

Yesterday I went home a little bit early. Threw the windows open to a strong wind, in spite of the layer of dust that it would inevitably leave in my house. Laid on the couch, made a cup of coffee. And waited for a storm that ended up passing us by, listening to my doors slam open and shut in turn and the wind howling around corners and through cracks. I watched the Princess Bride, which I hadn't seen in years. I couldn't help giggling throughout the whole movie like a delighted child, just like Justin talked with me recently about doing. I made some chicken noodle soup for dinner. Read late into the night.

This morning I woke up early. Or, earlier than I had to.

I got up, made a cup of coffee. Put lots of cream and sugar in, which is a little unusual for me. And I had some local snacks like graham crackers to accompany it--half covered with roasted sesame seeds, the other half with pieces of peanuts. I sat looking out my window at the still-white sky, before the afternoon's blue. Just quiet, still, but feeling something leaping inside me that just might be life. I prayed off and on. Drank slowly. Ate slowly. Just slowly enough to be late for work.

The waitress was sitting on her bike waiting for me when I got here, wearing a yellow jacket and the perpetual black head covering. When she saw me I made a face, and she laughed. I threw open the sliding metal door over our glass entrance, and walked in. The shop always has a sour smell when I first get in, so I turned on one of the fans upstairs to help it air out.

I swept the coffee shop barefoot this morning. Danced around to old 90s songs while I worked in the upstairs, while the waitress scrubbed dishes in the kitchen. Sang along to the best parts.

When I swept the narrow band of tile outside our storefront, a woman looked at my feet, and looked up at me like I was some sort of savage. Maybe I felt a little savage this morning--I was dreaming of running barefoot through soft grass.

Maybe I was dreaming of childhood. Maybe I was remembering a piece of some sort of home I had once. Or maybe I was looking towards what is ahead, a different kind of existence than this one. It was one of those moments that you snap awake and remember the deeper life whose streams flow generously under the small paths we walk. Their waters run underneath all the cities we've seen, and will see, through the course of our lives and ever after.