After my post yesterday, I went for a walk. For a moment, let us a put aside the fact that I’m only 34 and am perfectly capable of going to the gym, and that going for a walk is a lame excuse for exercise. I just needed to get away from a screen and clear my head a bit. Karen was whipping up one of her culinary masterpieces in the kitchen, and our apartment just isn’t that big, so, in order to get some quiet, I needed to escape for a few moments.
As I’ve recently mentioned, I like walking at dusk, experiencing a sort of thin place. Its sort of like mobile meditation for me. I usually notice people first…vehicles coming and going, college students returning from the gym, the sounds of enthusiastic football fans screaming out through their windows, people walking dogs. From there, I usually notice different kinds of cars for a few minutes. By then, I’m usually rounding a corner and walking up the back parking lot of our apartment complex, which is less populated, and my attention will turn to the sky. I eventually move around to a better view of the sky, and I can see its final fiery burst as it turns dark behind the visage of the Blue Ridge Mountains off in the distance.
Last night there were more cars coming and going than usual (some in a bit of a hurry), and I was well around my normal circle when I realized that my head still just wasn’t “clear.” So I stopped. I found a bit of decorative ledge on the edge of the parking lot and sat. I let my gaze drift over the street a few hundred yards to my left, one the major arteries of traffic in the city. At that point, a beautifully commonplace thing happened.
There’s a computer repair store opposite our apartments on the other side of the street. The signs of this store, like most, are on some sort of timer, and backlight at a specific time each evening. That time happened to be just as I was looking at it.
Somehow, there was something absolutely profound in the illumination of that sign.
Don’t let yet your mind run away with you…I’m not about to draw some light vs. dark metaphor…that would be trite here. I just mean that I’ve walked that circle of our parking lot a dozen times in the last two months, and I’ve seen that computer repair store each time, and I’ve never noticed the sign, lit or unlit. Had I not stopped and sat down yesterday evening, I wouldn’t have noticed it then, either. I quite possibly would never have seen that sign light up.
Ultimately, watching a computer repair store sign illuminate isn’t something that alters my perception of reality, or even something that I’ll likely remember at all by next week. What impacts me about it, though, is the appreciation of that moment, because I think its symbolic of a thousand moments that brush by us as we’re rushing from point A to point B trying to accomplish…something. In my aforementioned pressure to reach goals and to accomplish my dreams, I am missing critical things in life…not just my life, but the life going on around me…that would be important to those dreams. And more important than that, its just life…teeming, substantive life, life from the Divine, life that I’m fortunate enough to encounter every day.
I wonder: how can we live if we’re missing life?
And all that because I needed to get some air and clear my head.