One of the dualities I struggle with is how beautiful the afternoons are here, despite the fact that I live in an aging apartment simplex. Amidst the traffic and people winding down from their days of obligatory toil and commerce, light and birdsong fill this place. It’s a time for introspection and casual hellos. I smell beans, pasta, undefined meat, and like most evenings, cannabis and cigarette smoke. I listen to the insects; even they know fall is carpeting itself around them. I saw only one hummingbird this evening. It flew down to the railing near me and then darted two feet above, perching on one of the two craft hooks I left hanging on the upper canopy. It remained for at least two minutes. When it left, it flew down a foot away from my face, humming and hovering before it made its departure.
I watch. I listen. I think.
If I go back inside, I’ll hear the backward clock ticking. I love backward clocks, but even the fact that they run in reverse is some sort of metaphor.
Evenings are the time for togetherness. It’s been that way for millennia. The sun’s slow surrender signals a retreat into homes and shared spaces.
I misjudged the quiet tonight. It is a blessing and it is a vexation.
My usual tactics of a long midnight walk or of untold pushups are out of reach, at least for the near future. I got great news from my doctor today. As contradictory as it sounds, the good news in some way amplified my need to be surrounded by sound, voices, and touch.
I am grateful to be here. So many others are facing ridiculous obstacles and certainties. I got a temporary pass.
The train arrives, claxons, stopping traffic for ninety-four seconds, the red alternating warning lights shining and reflecting on each car as it passes, the two opposing left-turn lanes backing up in frustration. Its siren recedes until I can hear it no longer. It’s replaced by the echoing barks of dogs, in homes I can’t quite picture.
I count sirens and ambulances. With so many people around me, both are inexorable.
I’m already futurizing, thinking of tomorrow. I’ll get to see the sunrise and feel the chill that’s predicted. My shoes are already laid out, socks on top, inviting me to go find a new adventure.
I can’t be me without all of y’all. And if you think of it for a moment, ask that the sunrise greet me in relative minutes.