I am outside right now. I am outside doing a very inside thing, typing on my computer. I am trying to live in both worlds of nature and technology at once. Hoping that perhaps, we will coexist and even coordinate with each other. The edges of my shoes are grazing the flower pot, and my nose is inhaling the scent of ..pot. I can’t say that I’m not happy.
A woman walks by, smoking a cigarette, singing to no one in particular. “You don’t know what you mean to me. Baby. Baby.” I think I’ve fashioned myself outdoors in such a way where no one seems to notice me. What comes to mind on a gentle spring evening such as tonight? I suppose I am thinking about my plans later on with friends, finishing the spring semester’s course work, wondering if the weather will ever get hot enough for me to sprawl out in the sand, next to a lake. Always wondering about something far off it seems. This is probably how everyday casualties slip by me. The faint blur of shining red slipping past the pale skin. That is how it feels. If you are failing to follow the sensation, just think of a stop sign. That will do the trick.
Nature is confident in its strides. It seems as though every creature belongs in a rhythm. The environment around us feels no absurdity in its existence, it knows what tune to carry, when to be quiet, and when to be loud. If I walk away from my surroundings, to a new street, new city, new state, the music changes. Slowly, yet effervescently, the song collapses into the air and another is born within new borders. Sometimes the change is dramatic. Thundering bass and loud thumps on the piano, over and over. And over. Sometimes the change is barely noticeable, a soft ring melting away with every vibration. There is no song book or sheet music for me to find, I can only listen. I can only listen by noticing. I can not conduct my own orchestra, but only fall into step with those around me. Doing so would be to pretend that I came here first, birthed the first note, and inhaled the first breath.
I watch the squirrels. They are the drums in my neighborhood’s song. With a quick pause and sharp turn of the head they start the song. They come in with the beat as soon as our dog barks a warning. 1,2,1,2,1,2 stop, look, go. Their stomachs forming the curve of a rainbow in every leap across the street. Subtly, the wind comes in, constantly moving and keeping within the song, yet blowing louder at times to prove its still there. An undeniable sound swarms the streets; birds chirping as though they have finally received their vocal cords in the mail today. There is not much collaboration among them, I think they all just want to be heard. It doesn’t bother me because I feel the same way. Maybe they’re saying to themselves, “I wonder if I can make my next chirp louder than the last!”
The plants are growing. I don’t really have the patience to watch them though.I imagine their contribution is similar to the chime of a triangle. It rings loudly once and you can’t miss it. The song swallows it up for a while until it chimes again. The flowers are always sneaking up on me like that. One day they’re curled up in a sea of green, I forget to notice and suddenly petals are blooming all over the place.
I suppose humans contribute to this symphony as well. Its harder to recognize the patterns though because we’re always forgetting to notice those internal rhythms. We choose to fall asleep hours after the sun has set, we ask headphones and ipods to accompany us wherever we go, begging them to not leave us alone with ourselves. We eat sometimes once a day, sometimes five. We forget to notice, because it would be terrible to remember all of the places and people seen in passing within the span of a day. Stress has shot our body’s cortisol levels so high that our immune systems can no longer regulate properly, our muscles break down, our patterns disrupt, all in order to continue feeding our minds. Our overworked, overtired, unruly minds.
Sometimes I just need to breath. And everything escapes me.