The sky darkened above me today, while I walked my walk through the streets. Clouds filled up like pregnant ladies and burst their bundles all over me, soaking me from head to toe.
I don’t mind. Walking through town in this rain is interesting, though. Streets normally full of traffic-rushing and lunch-getting are quiet and calm in the rain. Looking down the street there should be hundreds of cars headed my way, but instead there is a vast expanse of shiny asphalt, reflecting back lights and shimmering like a magical path in a fairy tale.
I smell toast as I pass the houses and cars; and coffee, and also some bagels wanting some cream cheese. I smell the delicious scent of earth and dirt, as I meander through Poncho Park. There is something sweet here – perhaps a sugary treat dropped by a child – dancing next to aromas of cigarettes and exhaust fumes. Warm concrete wet with new rain, and the touch of moist grass to top off the mixture.
I heard recently that the sense of smell is the weakest sense in humans. There are times (i/e: when working with the public) that I would appreciate a weaker smeller a great deal. I, however, have super smell, and can often identify a brand of perfume just from walking into a building, or the smell of an egg salad sandwich eaten six hours ago, but somehow still lingering about the lunchor.
This super power allows me to enjoy a million little things that go unnoticed by others: someone lighting a candle on a rainy day, perhaps to sit and read a good book by; the fresh laundry smell that squeezes through the house and brushes my nose with its clean, happy scent; and the smell of life, which seems to be toast and coffee for me – scents that say it’s time to get up and start another day. Live. Be alive. Go make something of this day.
Used to be I was a drone bee, like all the other drone bees. I would wake up at the ungodly hour of 6:00 in the morning, get ready, go to work, bustle about with whatever I was supposed to be doing -half asleep because I hadn’t had enough coffee – and spend the entire day doing what everyone else was doing, which was thinking about all the things we COULD be doing instead of working, like playing video games, or going to the movies, sleeping in, having sex, or spending some money at the local mall. I told you, this was some time ago…I don’t really go to the mall that often anymore. Unless I need some cute earrings from Claire’s, or something sassy from Hot Topic. Shut up; yes I HAVE seen that South Park episode and it’s hilarious. I still shop at Hot Topic.
Today makes me glad I finally gave up working the normal work-a-day business hours to go rogue. It’s raining steadily right now at twelve noon. I went for my walk, as the rain poured down on me, and breathed in the smell of toast that permeated the air. Lunch time, I guess. I still hadn’t had breakfast. I had a chance to see a baby muskrat running through someone’s yard. I got to hear the morning church bells, which always remind me of Switzerland. I made myself a cup of coffee, wishing I had my secret ingredient to make it Russian style, and sat myself down to write out a little blog. Perhaps I could squeeze in some work on my Twilight Zone project, if time allows.
Back in the day I wouldn’t have the chance to do all this. Back in the day, I would be collating paperwork right now, or ordering up lunch for some executives, or wondering why my boss’ deposit slip never seemed to match the till. (hint: weed growing in the back yard, which I didn’t find out about for a long while) Back in the day I would have missed this glorious morning of green grass, mama Robins and soggy britches. I would already be indoors, wanting to get out, waiting to be released from work so I could have an evening walk full of traffic and cars honking and people driving home hungry for dinner and drunks that started getting happy quite a while before the appointed hour.
So it’s a good thing I finally happened to start taking jobs that allowed me to go into work at 3:00, or 5:00 even. And it’s a good thing I finally discovered I was a writer. And also, not much of a morning person.
I try to go walking in the morning several times a week. If I can, I’ll go every day for a short walk before work, and on the weekends I’ll go for longer, more leisurely walks. My body gets horrible pissed at me if I don’t get enough Yoga in, though, so sometimes I have to choose the one over the other, so that my old football injuries don’t bother me as much.
Today was a perfect day for a quick walk.
On the up side, it was perfect weather, warm, with the sun shining full on my face. And not too hot yet, with just the right amount of air circulating, so I come home sweaty, but not looking for my asthma inhaler.
On the down side, a creepy guy smiled at me on his bike as he crossed the street. I’m not into men with hairy faces. Scratch that. I’m totally into men with SCRUFFY faces, I’m just not into men with beards. Scratch that. I’m totally into men with Van Dykes and goatees, I’m just … okay fine, I’m not into THAT man.
On the up side, I got to hug my favorite tree, whom I’ve named Poncho. He’s just a little guy, and I’ve been visiting him since he was first planted there. I used to worry about him when he was a pup, and the wind got too strong. No need, because now his hair is all sprouted up, and he’s tall and proud, with cute little eyeballs that make him look like a character from the fabulous movie “Nine”. I’ll have to upload a picture. Poncho is adorable.
On the down side, my neighbors peonies, and the ones in the park were sad, heavy and browning today. Such beautiful flowers are hard to imagine going bad, turning old, fading or withering.
On the up side, I DID get to walk through the park right after it had been freshly mown. One of my favorite smells is cut grass, so yum…it was perfectly delicious today.
On the down side, I usually get to smell two other favorite smells – coffee and toast – as I’m on my walk, and today there were neither. The mixture of those two smells is so completely average and daily, yet something about them is the perfect combination, and the aroma makes me think of home, love, and travel. Maybe it’s like in the Harry Potter movie, where Hermione is talking about what makes the perfect love potion, and for her it is books and toothpaste. Maybe mine would be coffee, toast, rain, grass, and the smell of Old Spice. I mean, a bajillion women can’t be wrong… (please tell me you’ve seen the hilarious commercial)
On another up side, I got to see a Robin walk right in front of me, carrying off a fat little worm, who was stupid enough to forget to wear his roller skates to scurry away on. I’ve never seen a Robin so close to me, let alone one making off with a breakfast burrito for the little chicklets.
On the down side, right at this same time, and old made up lady, who looked like a coifed caricature from Spirited Away walked by in a strange bouncy walk, wafting of an atrociously unappealing perfume.
On one more up side, my stone lions were upright again today. I pet two stone lions as I walk by a professional building just past the park. The one likes his chin rubbed, and the other likes a good back scratch. One weekend some kid came by and knocked them over, and when I saw them on Monday I could have cried. I rushed to the door and knocked, and talked to a woman who works there, offering to help if I could. She said they were impossibly heavy, and I don’t know how they got them up again, but I’m glad they did. I would have looked really stupid sitting on their grass lawn to give a belly rub to the two lions. But I would have if I had to.
On the down side, a random paper plate littered my neighbor’s yard, making me think that some random person had just had a meal as they passed by and tossed the remains in some strangers yard. It’s happened before.
All in all, a good morning’s walk. I see once again, that the light and dark, the good and “bad” will once again do their work throughout the day, trying to balance out the energies of the world, and keep everything in balance. Hopefully I will navigate the teeter totter of life well today, and face the ups and downs with equal amounts of acceptance, understanding and optimism.