This morning, I witnessed a fat squirrel try to navigate a crowded crosswalk among fast feet. He scrambled back and forth along the walkway until he leapt hell-for-leather into a bush where he whipped around and chattered insults at passers-by.
Only one other pedestrian seemed to notice.
Seduced by the phones in their hands and the isolating sounds piped right into their ears, these folks missed a great battle among man and beast and nuts.
Later, I noticed an “Ewok” in the mash up of 80s covered chair and a fortuitous stain. I’m not what you’d call a Star Wars fan, but one of my brother’s friends (you, Chuck Haggard) used t0 call me “wookiee” and “Ewok” so I looked it up.
Regularly, I see faces in tile floors, pictures in crumbling concrete, wonder in the stars, and tiny wee things along the path. I’m a good person to have around when you’ve lost a contact.
But sometimes I miss the obvious.
The snake in the grass.
The look of “will you please stop telling my birth stories!”
The pipe that clotheslines me and relieves me of my front teeth (again.)
I cannot be cocky or arrogant about what I see, because I miss a lot.
These days, I am empty. So empty that I Googled it: “emptying”. I found a word that had been coming to mind lately, “kenosis.” Kenosis means “self-emptying” or “the act of being emptied.” Often cooptated by the Christian tradition, this old Greek word for “emptiness” puts a sweeter spin on what can feel like being scoured by a spiked scrubby in the middle of a pelting ice storm that has been knocking power out for weeks.
Kenosis. It’s what’s for dinner.
And breakfast and lunch.
Instead of fighting it, I’m just going to be present with it and find peace in its echoing chambers.
I’m also going to keep looking for signs of life;
The good news is that I am no longer consumed with anger and fear.
Night terrors seem to be largely tamed.
In this emptying, there is joy.
Not whomping heaps of it,
but in noticing people, peculiarities, places, and moments.
I’ve begun capturing these peculiarities on my Instagram account.
Not everything gets captured.
Sub-zero mornings when I choose to walk to work are bounties of the curious bits of life in Manhattan.
But “baby it’s cold outside” and I often must pass the cool bits by so that my fingers do not freeze.
Driving also curbs my recording of the beautiful beyond my backyard. I am consciously refraining from popping pictures while flying down rural highways.
Sunday, I saw snow, skidding cars, a big white owl pass too-closely to my windshield in the waning light of day, a coyote, several deer, over-turned trees (and cars), and life along Highway 99 between the Hobbit House and the kids around the table.
Sunday’s setting sun was so vibrant and so – well, the word “beautiful” does not do it justice – and I tried to capture the fiery colors so that folks in further places might have a chance to see it, too. I’m sorry, but it didn’t work. I cried and cheered over the sky show all alone.
Humbled by what I’d seen.
I see people.
Lots of them.
Shenaniganizing, comforting, laughing, lounging, laying-about, working, solving, surrendering, and living in community (my favorite!).
I see the hot mess of people and love them so, because they are my community: the skater girl with the concussion, the busy flummoxed mum, the well-appointed brilliant one who cried at our first meeting and honored me by calling me “friend”. Once you’ve been indoctrinated into that club, all you can do is humbly love and drive on.
I see random stories of the day. I don’t see a next step or goal to shoot for – except in the needs of the day.
I’ll start there.