Bent Words

Bent Words

February 11, 2009

I was lying on my back, in a tight front yard that had not seen a lawn mower all year, inhaling the contours of a grand Oak whose branches were bended over me. I gazed at the robins making their morning parley with 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.

It was mid to late September and the weather seemed to be in a perfect march with my mood. The air was crisp and clean smelling like Fall yet warm enough for bits of bare skin 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 the leaves of 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 might have remained that way for hours or mere minutes. I knew nothing of time. I had no desire of occupation, no pull of necessity, no inclination toward duty. Burdened thoughts did not press my mind and 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 acquiesced with his silence. What an imposition words would be to such a beautiful beginning 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 all inner struggle.

Finally, after an undetermined but appropriate amount of time, his voice broke the quietude.

"We're going, now," he said with confident words that ran from a thought more than a command.

I didn't ask him where we were going. I didn't disturb the ground with hurried frenzy, attempting to ready myself before departure, nor did I bother garnering any belongings. I simply allowed the tempo of time to beat its natural rhythm and carry me with it as it would.

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

I still brought them with, just in case.

Never before have I felt more inclined to reach with outstretched fingers towards the brilliant sky than I did that day -- to feel the sharp air within my hands, to grasp the sun with all my senses, to taste the day and swallow the moment. That was the day. And there was no question in my mind what moon roofs were made for.

At the lake front in Milwaukee, a copious coupling of land and water greeted my inclination toward the 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 shoreline with ease and admiration. The stranger listened as I babbled on with story upon story, chattering like the robins from his Oak tree. To him, it was easy -- just as it had been easy for me that morning -- to remain there, silent and unimposing, appreciative and smiling, truly enjoying the world we live in.

Such was that day where I filled the sand, twice over, with the footprints of my life.

Written at 9:34 p.m.