May gray is with us now. It reminds me of this time of year in San Diego- gloomy, but warm, the clouds backlit, still causing me to squint when I look up to follow a flock of birds across the sky. Sounds stream in from the garage- a blues record and the steady sanding of a walnut coffee table. Inside, J watches soccer- an important game that warrants too-loud a volume. But Banjo and I sit far enough away in the backyard on our newly adopted red plastic adirondack chairs, just deep enough for me to curl up with pup and journal on my lap.
The air grows warmer and more humid with each song that Lighting Hopkins plays. The sanding strokes grow more rhythmic, more fervent. He has changed the grit.
The grass is slowly dying from several days of heat waves. We worry too much about the water shortage to try to save the lawn. We collect shower water in plastic sand pails, toting the slightly sudsy gray water outside after each shower to appease the thirsty plants that line the yard. Green-yellow oranges the size of grapes fall prematurely from the tree, one nearly plunking down in my coffee mug, startling the sleeping pup on my lap.
A mocking bird sings from the branches of a distant tree in a long series of phrases, first shrill, then raspy, then scolding. The birds are very vocal here, in this urban desert by the river. They speak their minds all day.
And so, I write mine.
Too tired from the stress of the week to process any relevant thoughts, I simply sit and observe and document the sights and sounds that are my world at this moment. I notice that a scattering of bougainvillea petals have blown far across the yard, turning a dry dusty rose away from their stalks. I notice how the breeze plays with the top right corner of the page I am writing on.
All of these noticings are, at once, so unimportant and so so valuable. As my pen moves across the page, recording all the small moments that have come together for me today- the sentences running on with crude use of punctuation- I write myself into a sort of calm, a sort of peaceful knowing. Each of these still, small moments fills the place where I held yesterday's anxieties and tomorrow's uncertainties. While the early fallen oranges may not hep me develop character or impact my future decisions, they are a part of the ripe and tender moments of my now. They are real- unlike the mini dramas I play out in my mind from day to day.
Mindfulness is my bare feet in the scratchy brown grass on this Saturday afternoon in late May. Mindfulness is the remedy to chaos and fear and angst. I am so grateful for this discovery.
|acrylic on watercolor paper...in the moment|