Often the moments of personal benefit are borne of necessity. Walking my daughter to school is not the norm for me. It should be. There is no reason, earthly or otherwise, for me not to simply stroll the four blocks every day with my perfect child, books and bags thrown across our shoulders, gawking at storefronts and chatting about the day that lays ahead. The walk today was rushed, having left the house five minutes too late to truly enjoy the walk. I cannot recall any of the topics we discussed - only that the chat was easy, lovely, and happy.
The walk home was slow, meandering, leisurely, and productive. A 2-block detour to Porto's for a crunchy loaf of freshly baked sourdough bread and a small, sweet Cortadito for the walk, and then back toward home. I make a quick stop at the bank ATM to make a deposit - a lovely change with no lines awaiting - and realize how quiet the street has become. Crossing over to the north side of the street, I stand and stare blissfully at the beautiful buddha and Ganesh statues in my favorite second-hand store. It's been far too long since I've wandered this cluttered place. I walk on, stopping to gaze curiously at the playful robots decorating a favorite new neighborhood haunt. Their handmade collections always make me smile.
The next block is haunted by a massive concrete structure whose beckoning doorways are constructed on the other side of it. For this reason, I generally walk on the other side of the street. Not today. Today, I am already here. And so I walk, head momentarily down. But my eyes are drawn immediately to the base of the tree that has entered my periphery. And I look up fully into this most beautiful creature. It's base is strong and bare. And there, just above the height of passing humans, sits the most lush and forest green mass of leaves - reaching high above the concrete roof. And there ahead, another, and another, and another. Fortunate that no one is walking toward me, I stare up at these giants of life, swept into the dark green curls that seem at once wild and clipped. I wonder at the bare trunk. Have we cut back any green shoots that grow down at our level, or have the trees managed this on their own? Have we readjusted nature to fit us? Or have they spared themselves the occasional prying and pulling fingers of human passers by? It matters to me, and I want to believe that they have chosen to blossom far above our heads. To protect us, shade us & delight us, safe from unintentional harm.
I have strolled much more slowly along this block. Breathing in the life of the trees, I cross to the next block - now one block from home. The same young man we passed on the way to school, is still working to rid the street of the mounds of wild leaves that yesterday's winds have heaved down upon us all. Good morning, we again greet each other. As I turn the corner and head toward the house, a woman sits in her car on the phone. She is one of many waiting for the italian deli extraordinaire to open. 9am comes far too slowly for those who want to slip inside and crawl into the glorious smells of this place. I smile, and head for home.
Often the moments of personal benefit are borne of necessity. Tomorrow it will be borne of sheer desire to be in the world. Maybe I'll bring the dog.