I took my dog out tonight earlier than usual. In part it was because if I waited much longer I knew I would become one with the couch. Also because this heat has gotten me so exhausted that I know that my life and livelihood needs me to be getting more sleep. So earlier to rise is (hopefully) on the horizon. It’s a different vibe going out just an hour or two earlier. Even though there weren’t a lot of people out and about tonight, there was a handful. And while there were not many milling about, there was a sense of activity in houses that usually are quiet and sleeping by the time I pass by. I didn’t feel as free to examine their yards the way I usually will stop and study how a rose is supported in one neighbor’s yard or what’s in the freshly spread mulch in another’s. I got quickly into the zone, though, and my dog and I were right in step. I struggled with her when I first got her. She always pulled when we walked, and was too antsy. Over time, we’ve settled into this, though, and I’ve only realized in recent weeks what a mediation it is to spend this brief, and usually daily, jaunt with her.
As we were rounding the corner to almost our block, not too far from the subway station, I saw a man and a woman crossing the street. Maybe they were from Bangladesh, maybe Pakistan. She was in a traditional sari. He, I don’t remember. I couldn’t tell whether he was child or husband, but I sensed almost immediately that there was discord. In the middle of crossing the street, with me and my dog just about ten or so feet behind them, he dropped three bags on the ground. I could tell from their shape they were shoe boxes. She barely hesitated, and kept right on walking. Flip, click, flip, in sandals that neither hurried up nor slowed down. I almost asked if he wanted help picking them up. It crossed my mind how I commit to wishing fellow elevator dwellers a good day when it’s just down to the two of us. Then something stopped me. I crossed off to the side and kept walking. Sometimes it’s better to have to stand alone in the evidence of your anger.
I walked the rest of the block home. We passed by the first sunflower of the year I’ve seen. I noticed the hydrangeas, which this year have been more full and color-bursting — like they had been dusted with magic pigment — than I’ve ever seen them, showing just the hint of receding, withdrawing to take their seasons’ rest. I wondered if it’s too late to plant some sunflowers. They just make me so damn happy when I see them.
I wondered at my lack of anger as of late. It’s like it’s just an emotion that’s deserted me, and that feels so alien when I encounter it. I understand being annoyed. There are many things I disagree with — ineffective or ineffectual methods and approaches that get my goat. But nothing really ‘burns me up’ lately. I wonder if it’s the heat. I wonder if I can take some credit for the wisdom to move away from sources of those things. I wonder if I’m just lucky right now, and should not spend too much time thinking about it because certainly something will come along that will boil my blood.
I walked up the stairs of my front porch and went to get my key. My mother is visiting. The door was unlocked. I thought she was locking it behind me. She left it unlocked. That could have been quite dangerous. I open the door. Every light is on. That is expensive. It is warm. She is coming in the back door, and has just had a cigarette. I tried very hard before I finally quit, after more than twenty years a smoker. The temperature starts to rise. I kick off my shoes, and come upstairs to write. It’s not really such a big deal, after all. She very well may be my favorite person on earth. And our time here is short.
But she did just come to tell me the fan was on too high, and to micromanage though she really has no clue she does it. “I’ll be right down,…” “Oh, no, don’t feel like you have to,” she starts to tell me. She is not understanding my tone. “I’ll be right down, Mom,” I say with enough strain in my voice that she understands the message (“please get out right now. Leave me alone. You have just walked into my space uninvited and told me how to do something differently I have not asked you about. I love you but sometimes you drive me crazy. Maybe you even make me angry”). Bah, in a minute I’ll be down there with her enjoying a glass of wine and sitting again in the moment of “our time here is short.” I guess anger has its place and purpose. It’s as much about how it’s expressed as it is how it’s felt. I’m just not crazy about either.