|In and out...it seems so easy. To breathe, that is. Today I found myself in one of those work states where I was breathing shallowly because that's how I work sometimes when I hit my groove. Sally did indeed find her groove thing today; work was flowing and words were coming — it sounds so nasty, but I'm just talking about writing. Honest. Well, here I was trying to remember to breathe, and I decided to get the hell out of the office (I've been looking through the cracks of the blinds for two days now), and go west.
Whenever I find myself forgetting to breathe I take a break and go to Crystal Springs Reservoir. I hike up around the back, find my favorite concrete bench, and stretch out on my back under the warm sun and breathe. More importantly, I listen to other people breathe. Measure their breaths as they run behind me on the trail, listen to the air of intent as it pumps up through their lungs. It's very relaxing. I close my eyes and let go, the papers I brought with me to review go unattended and I breathe. It's funny how people sound when they run, Rollerblade or ride their bikes. When I close my eyes and listen I can pretty much tell what people look like when I hear them breathe, and once in a while I open an eye just to confirm. I was right on the money today — I heard him running...deep, manly breaths as he sprinted past. I opened an eye; I had pictured an Adonis and bingo I was correct. He looked like a fireman, his tee-shirt hanging from his hand, his strong legs pumping up and down to carry his beautiful self past my bench where I faced out to the reservoir, unobserved as I observed. He was magnificent.
I continued to listen as people ran, walked, hobbled and sprinted past. One guy had blades on and was using cross country ski poles, he was like Mercury - a playful god touching down for a moment to play with the mortals. I began drifting in and out, listening to breathing, breathing deeply and writing in my head what will end up in one of my latest assignments; a project with UCLA writing methodology protocols for building IT infrastructure. Easy, peasy, I love this stuff. As I continued to write in my head, I heard the low flying hawks' wings ruffle in the afternoon wind as they circled above, and the water began roughing up; I could hear the wind begin tossing it up against the shore's rocks.
Then I heard someone settle in on the bench next to me. Then, to my most wonderful surprise I heard him plucking out soulful notes from his guitar. Notes that fed my hunger I didn't know I had. I kept my eyes closed and kept listening; the guy's style was beautiful, he sounded a bit like early Pink Floyd (wish you were here), and a smidgen like Mark Knopfler on reds. In the moment it was as though the symphony had decided to drop by and give me a private performance. And he started playing the Neil Young; the day just kept getting better and better. When he was done, I opened my eyes and saw him upside down. He was probably in his 40s, he looked like a musician. I clapped and told him how nice it was to hear him play. I focused in on what I thought was the hawk I had heard, it turned out to be what looked like a vulture. A big one with a long red head; that's a first, I have never EVER seen a vulture here (at least the flying kind). I made an epiphanous noise and said it looked like we had a flying metaphor circling overhead. I made a comment about the day's tech news. He laughed like a man who was trying to make me think he was getting what I was saying; I knew he wasn't in tech.
I sat up and brushed the hair out of my eyes, commented on how time flies when you're being serenaded and got up to leave. He asked me my name, I told him, he told me his and then I shook his hand and thanked him again. I walked away on the path and began thinking words again to slip into my project. A few minutes later he caught up with me and made small talk. I new innately that it was not meant to be, put some cash in the park donation box by the gate and bid him farewell. He smiled, I left.
On my way home I turned up the radio — more Led Zeppelin, I had heard a song from the same album on the way up to the park. Could it be they're planning a tour??? It was getting into the dinner hour and I had a keen craving for salt & pepper prawns from my neighborhood place, Gin Mon. I always get the same craving every Monday, the only day that the place is closed.... So I stopped of at Crystal Springs Center and asked the guy at Rite-Aid (what the hell kind of name is that anyway?!) if there was a good place for Chinese food, he pointed me a few doors down. I went over and ordered my salt & pepper prawns and went over to Safeway to do some grocery shopping while I waited for them to make dinner. So, while I was shopping this guy nearly crashed his cart into mine, he had a nice smile. It turns out I ended up behind him in line. He asked the cashier where he could possibly find a hammer at such a late hour. He had an urge to put up some paintings. I commented that I had one in my
HEY -- WHOO-HOO! We just had an earthquake! That was exciting! I'm getting on http://www.USGS.gov to see what it was -- 5.2!
Okay back to finish this before I lose the electricity....
I commented that I had a hammer in my trunk...I think he thought it was a cool pickup line. I assured him that I really did have a hammer in the trunk and it was too small for me to work with — I went camping with it last weekend and it was too small to hammer the tent stakes in with, and it bent the stakes over and was kind of lame. It would be perfect for banging little nails into the wall. I told him to follow me and I pulled it out of my trunk, but not before he caught a glimpse of my stun gun. He said, can I give you anything for this? I told him it was my mitzvah, he kept milling. I told him I had to go and get my dinner.... Milling men, lots of them around.
This morning was odd, I found a rose on my stoop. Actually, I walked on the rose on my stoop. I was up at my ordinary 5 AM and found that I had left my Palm Pilot in the car; I went to get it. Still being kind of dark, I stepped on the rose with my bare feet, thank goodness someone had thought to strip the thorns. actually it kind of freaked me out - felt like a slug at first to my bare feet. It was pretty odd. I had put the trash out at about 1 that morning, and there was no rose at that hour.... Hmmmm, another insomniac. No note, oh well.
Well, I'm going to get back to work now (real work).