Rain Driving Zen

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

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I wrote this one on Monday, when I had a little time to appreciate the day.

I'd also like to note that the photo on the left is from  http://www.flickr.com/photos/houseofsims/3544875574/in/photostream/ via Creative Commons.  I'm not much of a photographer, so nearly all of the images I use here are borrowed from this site.  Now, getting back to it...

It's a good morning.  Contemplative.  The kind of morning when your thoughts are clear (if a little groggy) and you settle into a nice Zen place of accepting who and where you are.

You wouldn't think you'd find much Zen on the morning of your first dentist's appointment in literally years.  But my appointment isn't until 10:00 and I had to have my son to school by 8:00-ish, so I planned to use this gap to write.  Of course, my "plan" was primarily to work on my fiction story.  But after dropping off my son and driving halfway across town, my thoughts wandered (as always) and I felt a blog coming on.

I thought about a friend of mine to whom I had loaned a relatively decent chunk of cash about a year ago when she was further down on her luck (and health) than anyone should ever be and was in danger of losing her lights.  Now, I say loan, but I wasn't married to that money and let it go mentally when I let it go physically.  I could have gone my whole life without giving those dollars another thought.  But then, a couple of days ago, there in my mailbox was an envelope… with a thank you card… and a check… a year after the fact.  But she never forgot it.  I have such amazing friends.

I took some side roads on my way to the coffee shop, roads I don't typically travel, just for a different perspective.  It's a rainy, overcast day, and it occurred to me, not for the first time, that this town looks best against a backdrop of grey.  Maybe every town does (Lord knows I've seen enough of them), or maybe it's just me.  Maybe I can only really appreciate it without the sun's distracting glare.  On a grey, rainy day there isn't the contrast of light and shadow.  Everything, the houses, the leafless trees, the evergreens, get an equal chance to show off what they've got.

I thought about these two cool kittens I've met via Blogger.  I figure they're almost two in cat years, but they've blown me away with their insights and raw human honesty in a way that you just don't see everywhere else.  And I thought about how this chance connection has made my whole world a little brighter, given me hope, shown me there are still people out there that care about something, that are true of heart and spirit.  It's renewed my belief in kismet and caused me to marvel at how people can come together from across thousands of miles, drawn only by ideas and expressions and the power of their words.

And I thought about myself, where I am right now.  In my Zen state, I was able to watch myself for a moment and assess the situation without too much emotional haze obscuring my view.  I am standing on a precipice, about to jump off, and hoping that when I do my wings will appear, and, if they don't, that I at least managed to throw a chute on my back to save me.  Or that maybe the bottom won't be sharp, wicked crystal shards after all, and only cotton and marshmallows to catch me.  That would be ok.  But things are changing so rapidly, and it seems they're only going up, up, up, so I've been a little scared to look down from here.  There's a Zen saying (while we're feeling Zenish) that goes, "Leap and the net will appear."  That seems right… but it's ponderous.

Driving clears my head like nothing else.  Those who know me personally will understand the significance, and why there are times when a car feels more like home to me than any immovable building.  The rest of you will have to take my word for it.  Or perhaps you'll start to understand through my stories.  But I will tell you that roads are my thinking places.  And that drive was like medicine.
So I finally made it to the coffee shop.  The barista made my coffee just right (hazelnut latte with extra hazelnut), and he even made a pretty little leaf in the foam.  They have new artwork on the walls (always local and always for sale) that was right up my alley; all richly colored with whimsical owls and fantastical creatures and exotic designs that made the place feel draped in gypsy light.  And though I didn't (couldn't) buy any, I breathed in all their colors and held them in my mind, just happy to know they exist.  So many things in life are like that.  You don't have to possess them to be enlivened by them.  You just have to know they exist, and that knowledge makes everything ok.

If you made it all the way here to the end of this little journey with me, I'd like to ask you a question, because I feel we've grown closer and I'd like to hear your thoughts.  You don't have to tell me, but I would be so delighted if you did.  What makes you happy to know it exists?  What fills you up, just knowing this reality allows for it to be?  I'm so very eager to know.


A girl. said...

I must admit, I have a lot. I'll name a few. Well, like you said, roads. They remind me that I've got somewhere to go, that there are plenty of options. Then there's music. Even if none is playing, I know that eventually I can listen and get lost in it once again. Books, definitely. I'll be in any world. I'm not ME anymore when I read, I'm somebody else entirely. I'm the character. I'm anything the book wants me to be. And it makes me feel invincible.
...and that's to name a few.

Anonymous said...

Wow... this is... beautiful. I don't even know any other way to describe it. I know how you feel about car rides. Especially on nice days.

GingerGirl said...

You have been quite zen-ish, haven't you, love? So glad that you are sharing it with us, and you wonderfully poetic voice that you still can't hear the beauty in, yet, because you are too close to it.

And your friends that are so amazing, well, if they are, it is because they have you...who are so amazing that they have no choice but to mirror it back at you.

But to your question...I am glad there is gray days, and fog, and clouds that hang low and heavy from the sky. I am glad there are roaring fires, warm ovens, and rising bread. I am thankful for deep woods that beckon you to enter and promise that no others will intrude as you explore its untouched beauty. I am glad there are mossy trees to rest under, and mossy rocks to climb upon. I am thankful for hot tea that warms my throat in the winter, and water so crisp that it numbs your lips on a hot summer day.

But mostly, my wonderful, dear friend, I am grateful that I have you.

firespark said...

Oh, thank you all!

Girl - I feel exactly the same about books and music... especially those books and songs that grab you and never let you go... not for the rest of your life. They stay with you always and become a part of who you are. It's as if the rhythm of the songs become your heartbeat, your footsteps, and the words and characters of the stories feed into your own character and you meld with them and little parts of you become them and stay that way long after the last page is read.

Katt - Thank you so much. That means a lot to me. And yes, so many beautiful days and lovely drives to look forward to. :)

GingerGirl - Ok, I don't even have words for that! I want to visit that world. (and she calls ME poetic!) I'm so glad you're back here again, and I'm so grateful to know you. If we had a perfect day away from all the chaos and demands, we would explore the forests for hours and read poetry and our favorite passages from books (probably Potter!), and then meander back to your stone English cottage (this is a perfect world, remember?) for tea and some scones you'd just made that morning (you pick what kind, you're the foodie ;). sigh... in the mean time, we'll have to make do with exploring those mysterious bottom lands behind your in-law's property... I'm so, so curious to see it. :)

And thank you again. From the bottom of my heart.