I took everything off the desktop of my computer. Now it’s a clear deep purple. A blue jay just landed in the yard. I saw him yesterday in the trees. My housemate left this morning on a short vacation with one of her friends. She chastised me before she left about leaving an unwashed pie plate in the sink. It attracted ants and she had to clear them off the counter when she was in a hurry. It was unusual for me to leave something in the sink. I’m so deliberate about washing and drying all my dishes. Maybe there was an unconscious motive behind it.
I read part of an article this morning about a man from Norway travelling through the Midwest. He complained that everything was the same – the same stores, the same motels. I noticed this too when I drove cross-country in 2003. A few days ago, I drove to a town an hour away from where I am currently living. It was so ugly. The area that used to be the downtown was full of empty stores and no one was walking along the streets. Everybody was at Safeway, Walmart and Starbucks. The downtown had migrated to a narrow strip of road right off the freeway.
In the urban area I recently left, the only people who walked the streets were the homeless. And me. I walked all over town. When people I knew saw me they would say, “Why were you out walking?” If they were in their cars, they would pull over and ask me if I needed a ride.
I walked because I like being “outside.” I like knowing what is going on around me. I once had a convertible and loved the sensation of being in a car, yet not being in a car. Now that the weather is warmer, I stopped going to the gym. The last few times I was there my nose felt stuffed from the stale air. But now my body has stiffened so I guess the gym routine was helping.
It has been raining on and off this morning. A yellow cat just whizzed by, running for shelter as it starts to come down harder. I will have the house to myself for two days. This hasn’t happened since Christmas. I have been kind of down lately, probably because I’m not exercising. I am going to force myself to do the gym thing today to see if it makes a difference.
The view from the front window of this house is so extraordinary, yet the woman who owns the house never stops to look. As an introvert, there are only two realities, the one inside my head, and the one that is nature. The manufactured world is an illusion, a shifting kaleidescope of fragmented bits. I often wonder how far I can get away from that which is artificial and monotonous. I am tired of all the filters that mediate my direct experience of what is genuinely in front of me. Sitting in front of this window watching the yellow and white daffodils sway in the breeze, seeing the bright green buds sprouting at the tips of branches, watching the pavement turn a slick grey from the rain – this is where life is.
And this place, where I am temporarily perched, feels like a gift from an unknown, unseen benefactor. I am filled with gratitude and peace.