Aug 11, 2009

The Turtle and the Hare

Molasses. Slow and thick and taking it's time to get anywhere worth getting to and I am living in it. This turn along my life's path has lead me to a place where the pace of the world is much slower. A thick and deep and faint heartbeat propels the air around me. Time takes on a different timbre, the light even runs down the side of my house and pools in puddles in the front yard. Maybe it's the weather. The humidity and heat have a propensity to do that, make you languid and loose. Maybe it's the wide roads with nothing but sky and green as far as the eye can see. Maybe it just is because it is. I am not exactly sure and I don't think I'll ever really know. What I do know though, is that molasses are an acquired taste.

I don't wait well. This is not new and it is something I have fought against in life's more delicate moments. I rush. I jump and leap and crash into things. I grab and hold and throw stuff, both words and occasionally, books. I am loud and soapboxy. Such a vision of grace, I am. I am finding that I have had to adjust to this creeping like morning glory vines growing way of being in a capacity that I was not sure I was exactly capable of. It almost seems to go against my very nature. But I am trying. Boy, am I trying.

There exists here a sense of politeness and necessary social interaction that I am not familiar with. The woman at the grocery store spent 15 minutes extolling the virtues of 3 different kinds of Swiss cheese to me yesterday. Yes, 3. She also told me that she lived in China as a girl and that her father was in the military which was why she could still speak 5 languages even though she really loved working at the deli. I tried to run into and out of Target and spent 10 minutes shooting the breeze with the cashier- her husband came home late again and forgot to pick up the stuff at the grocery that she had asked him for and damn it if it didn't just start her day off on the wrong foot. It's not everyday you get to hear about the personal lives of the people you do your everyday business with so candidly. I know more about the woman who makes my coffee at the local Starbucks than I did about the neighbors I shared a building with in San Francisco for three years. This is telling.

I hesitate to write this because I don't want to come across as sounding condescending or prosaic. These interactions matter. They ultimately shape the community I live in and lend it it's texture and taste. These exchanges are teaching me something very necessary both about myself, and the people I share my daily life with. Listen better. Take and make the time. Be present and compassionate. I am adjusting my breathing to this new molasses air, to this green and blue space and to this new way of walking and being in the world. Ironically, I go slowly. It seems the only real way to be.

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