Zen Mornings 12/3/2011
Today I learned that I do not feel like writing about yesterday, but instead about the hour-long walk about my neighborhood this early afternoon, with my dog Xander.
Giant Palms, strange desert succulents of translucent pinks and oranges glowed in the sun. We began our journey under a bright but cloud ridden sky. The clouds moved quickly by, swiftly shifting everything from gray to bright. Within 5 minutes of our walk a giant, nearly all-sky encompassing, severely dark gray cloud was directly overhead!
The wind increased and the cloud grew darker as it neared, chilling the air. Sun, light, warmth! I concentrated on this for a moment and then released my mind into nothingness. The sun held strong, but the cloud made itself known right along side it, giving everything it had despite the strong fight of the light. Our adventure began. So strange to see blue sky circling around the looming darkness, sublime! Something lands on my head. Little dark circles appear all around us. Raining and sunny! These moments are rare, and I felt a growing sense of appreciation to be caught outside in it.
I relish in this combination for a few moments, and then it began to rain harder, as the gray overtook the sun for a bit. The wind picks up and my hair accumulates the chilly water droplets. I put on my bright yellow hoodie, and thought to myself what an adventurous walk so far! Xander shook out all of the accumulated water in his fur, looking quite pleased with himself afterwards. What a site we must have been; a bright yellow thing topped with red hair, footed with heavy black boots, following brown, handsome and furry, in his bright orange bandana, him living in the smells and me with bright eyes and a grin on my face.
The rain slowed to a sprinkle with the dark cloud above us still covering the light of the sun. We entered the tundra–Panorama Drive, a loop of nice houses lining the edge of a cliff, with a mixture of grassy valleys, freeways, and mountains in the backdrop. In this part of the neighborhood, cherry pickers lined the road, numbering one every three houses or so. Clipped dead palm tree leaves covered the sidewalk in numerous areas, creating an obstacle course. Xander and I leaped and jumped and circled around the mess. The darkness encompassed everything, and the chilly sprinkling continued.
“Quite a mess!” A man outside his home yelled to me as he saw us bounce around the tree parts. “Well, at least it’s not boring!” I smiled back at him and we continued on. A few houses up ahead two smiling construction workers sat in a yard eating their lunch. They gave Xander a few pats. By this point the rain picked back up again. They offered me a ‘good day’ and looked as bright and happy to be out in the rain as I was. I breathed deeply, noting that familiar smell of warm rain on cement. Xander and I continued on our adventure and by the time we reached the small park I often frequent to meditate, the rain left and the cloud began to break up, as the impending blue sky infiltrated its grasp and the beautiful day to follow settled into place.
The sun and our brisk pace warmed and dried us in a matter of moments, and I could once again remove my hoodie. Sudden quiet and lack of cars surrounded me for a few blissful moments before we arrived at the main street of our neighborhood. We passed quickly through to the other side, into a different neighborhood that we had not yet traversed by foot. Smiles and bright eyes were everywhere as we made our way across the bustling street. Such a weekend day as this always makes for lots of smiling souls. The atmosphere was lively, yet calm, as we passed a small, busy cafe full of patrons enjoying brunch.
We followed the road we were on to a dead-end, and peered out over the edge into a deep, huge grassy and wooded valley– a jungle! This jungle was surrounded by bustling mid-day freeways and miles of city. I was struck by the stark difference, as a family collected behind me. They peered out over the city, while I peered down into the jungle valley. I smiled at them and beckoned the serene Xander to come along and continue our adventure back towards home.
We were definitely warm now, and the crisp breeze perfected the warm sun, complimenting each other with lovely balance as they tend to do during these Southern California late autumn afternoons. We passed by an empty elementary school with many stand alone buildings just as my high school had. I began to feel quite nostalgic and everything seemed strangely familiar. We continued on, nearing an abandoned building that often intrigued me from afar. It stood strangely awkward among its newer neighbors, looking solemn yet stable; stoic just as Xander had been moments prior. The one step and large stoop led to an over-sized entry way, so boarded and painted over that it barely looks like an entrance anymore. We stood in the vast green lawn and stared up at the strange building for a while–a very old library perhaps., of a tan color, pillars lining the sides, elaborate architecture around the entrance, flat-topped and rectangle in shape. Strange feelings swept over me, though I contemplated staying and sitting on the stoop for a while. I decided to continue home.
So much awaits you right in your own neighborhood. Go outside, see the sights, hear the sounds (or the quiet), smell the smells, feel the air–your feet can take you far.