Friday, May 31, 2013
The Universe in One Step
Finally, suddenly, like the sun flashing behind storm clouds, the back pain is reduced in a way that permits walking the dog. We go slowly.
The dog and I don't mind going slowly, and when we meet others, our slowness is not as embarrassing as I imagined it might be....I'm a fast walker usually, a purposeful walker, maybe even a strider, but thinking about that now makes me laugh because purposeful seems rather silly. Maybe even self-important, puffed up and conceited. Hmmm, OK, egocentric.
Yes, egocentric walking.
When I walk, just walk. I think I might understand.
That's not easy.
Out in the alley, life goes on and on and on.
Two doves bob like toys in front of me, making their hollow sound, then take to the air making their whirly-gig sound. To be away from the dog, 5 or 6 feet is enough. Landing, they have forgotten we exist.
A baby begins to fuss in the house next door. It's not full blown, just an experiment to see what the fuss might provoke. It's the sort of fuss that might lead to those heart-wrenching sobs I recall when my children were small. Dinner time, the witching hour, and the day had been so lonely and long. Sometimes I cried along with my son.
The dog pees on everything vertical. In this heat, odors are 100 times more potent: tar treated phone poles, white pine needles, a garbage bag spilling Spagetti-Os and a Jack Daniel's bottle, grass growing.
Wandering, peeing, senses stuffed!
In the grass I find a tuft of feathers, all connected to a patch of blood. Someone was recently eaten. The bead of blood is still tacky. Who came through like a dive bomber? The nesting crow feeding nestlings? A Cooper's hawk, making a tour of the town? And who was the victim?
The dog and I inspect the grass, but find nothing more--taken on the wing.
Meanwhile the wind blows the tops of the iris, and they bow. How many times a day do they thank the earth?
The gardener pours water from a metal watering can, a traditional watering can. He is probably about 75 years old, and I appreciate how he moves.
He tells me he is traveling to the beach tomorrow. Around here no one ever names the beach or the town, everyone just says, "the shore". He's traveling to "the shore" and has a stack of New Yorker magazines he is hoping to get through, and instantly I know that impulse that organizes the reading material, sets it aside for a quiet time, when one can truly enjoy the reading in a relaxed way that invites curiosity, and sometimes great understanding.
Understanding that might not come at any other time, under any other circumstance but this one, when we might turn to a loved one and say, "I think I finally get string theory", or "Hey! Jacques Cousteau was an awesome person!," or even "I know I've always supported the War, but you know, I've been wrong."
There is a space between hope and pure wonder that allows for the dissolving of all opinion or dualistic attachment. Sometimes the space is yawning wide open all around us and being entirely other than what we think we are becomes so obvious it's enough to remain on your feet, and not fall down in an attempt to wrap our arms around the universe.