Bent Words

Bent Words

July 07, 2006

It was mid to late September and the weather seemed to be in perfect march with my mood. The air was crisp like Fall, yet warm, and barely a single cloud blotted the blue soaked sky. I felt as serene as the unimposing sun. As light as the breeze that tickled through the trees above me and more free than I've felt since I was seven years old -- those salad days when I was unencumbered by the burdens of adulthood.

I was lying on my back, in a tight front yard that had not seen a lawn mower all year (if ever), inhaling the contours of a grand Oak whose branches bended over me. My hands tucked behind my head, my feet free from cover, my left knee bent toward the sky -- I could not have been more content.

I might have remained that way for hours or mere minutes. I knew nothing of time. I did not feel as though there was some other task that I should be occupied with. I did not feel the haste of motion or a sense of urgency toward that day as I did with other days. I did not feel that a moment had been wasted or that I had, in this world, any better place to be.

The stranger who sat next to me agreed. He said nothing. What an imposition words would be to such a beautiful day as this, I thought. I did not want to offend the earth or the sky or the birds full of song with my pithy contemplations. I merely wanted to appreciate them and remain inexorable to outside forces.

And then, after an undetermined but appropriate amount of time, his voice broke through the quietude.

"We're going, now," he said. It wasn't a command as much as it was a thought.

In a lazy, languid glance I asked if shoes would be required and he responded with the perfect answer -- "no."

I still brought them with, just in case.

Never have I felt more inclined to reach with outstretched fingers towards the brilliant sky than I did that day. That perfect day in mid to late September. And there was no question in my mind what moon roofs were made for.

At the lakefront in Milwaukee, a copious coupling of land and water greeted my intention of freedom from shoes. Another wonder to adore, with the great expanse of lake before me, I skipped and sang while the icy water nipped at my skin. I could not care for the cold as the sensation was breathtaking. Just to feel. Just to be capable of it and to really enjoy it all.

I learned, from a passing jogger glued to his cell phone, that it was yet before noon. I must have risen early, I thought, as it seems that half the day is gone.

But the day kept on going, as we strolled up and down the shore with ease and admiration. The stranger listened as I babbled on with story upon story and it was the first time I ever felt as though I were not babblying. To him, each word that I imparted was as important as the last. The Lake I grew up on, my mother full of grace and ease, my father with his jovial heart and quick wit and my brother who has hated me and loved me.

I filled the sand, twice over, with the footprints of my life.

Written at 7:34 a.m.