Going north to Ashland, Oregon, without a particular plan, I experienced a day of variety and flow.
finely chiseled ivory
a cameo portrait
hair woven in braids
and curls piled high
tattoos traced her arms and any bare skin
her clothes were colorful, soft and flowing
her expression–lost in another time and place–
her fingers played the keys of the accordion
while she pumped the bellows gracefully
the soft, insistent, melancholic music
forcing its way into the heart’s land
I placed a few dollars in the accordion case
and she barely nodded as I said “beautiful” and
I walked into the park
the loud tones of a man’s voice
rose over all other sounds
as he swore and beat on the man
lying at his feet on the ground.
The man on the ground was curled in a fetal position. His arms and hands shielding his head as a circle of young men gathered and held back all at once. I hurried two curious young girls along the path catching them up to their mother who finally said “They didn’t need to see that.”
I found a park bench in the shade beside the duck pond on this overheated day. I marked the rentals in the newspaper out of habit and hope. I watched the mother duck and her nine, count them, nine ducklings being herded here, no here, no there, keep up–the fluffy-headed, wide-eyed ducklings. “Yes, mother, oh yes mother, oh!” They do respond to every barked order. Survival is a serious business and this duck pond, for better or worse, is their home for now.
At a neighboring bench, someone said that the old woman was part Cherokee. She weaves baskets out of pine needles! Her old fingers do such fine work and she’s so proud. She only learned two years ago. She outdid her teacher…it’s in her cells this knowing how to weave baskets.
I approach the basket weaver.
“Do you teach classes?” I inquire.
$50.00 a person. Gather some people.
I want to learn from her. It’s obvious that she knows how to live a fulfilled life. Teach me that, please. She touches my arm as if a touch can impart such wisdom or is she reading me? Her eyes show neither humble senility nor prideful superiority–only a quiet wisdom. Yes, teach me soon, I’ll pay. Her daughter, works in a salon, files fingernails.
The pianist in the ice cream parlor trying to sell me his cd.
“I really just came in to buy ice cream,” I emphasize. I buy a cd, finally, for two thirds of the price–he’s a good salesman, but can he play the piano?
I got the last haircut appointment in a little shop off the boulevard. The perfect cut.
This day held all a day could hold, all that life could hold. Beauty and violence, the extremes and beauty prevailed.
Do you ever choose a day of flow without any particular plan? Have you written about it?