I walked around the neighborhood for today’s assignment. Something I haven’t done in a long time. I did not rush or hurry back to this computer screen to publish my thoughts. I wanted to make sure to capture everything. But before I walked I decided to sit on the porch for a while and in doing so I ran into the sun. He was rude about it really. Everywhere I positioned my chair there he was, all up in my face. Finally, I gave him my attention.
“Hello there Sun.”
“Do you feel that heat?” said Mr. Sun.
“Yea, I do.”
“Go inside the house,” he said.
“OK,” Mr. Sun.
I walked back into my house and it was warm. But it was a different kind of warm. It was cool out this morning and my house was cozy, but it felt stuffy and artificial compared to the heat of the sun.
“Ah”, I said to myself. “I get it now.”
I walked back out and moved my chair so that the sun was no longer beaming down on me. There. Now I can sit and drink my coffee. After a while of silent sitting, I noticed that I could not hear the wind. The machines, garbage trucks, and electronics that power the buildings and apartment complexes were too loud. “Why can’t I hear the wind?” I thought.
“You have to concentrate,” said a voice.
“Where are you?” I knew it was the wind.
“Listen and you’ll find me.”
“OK, I said and I focused my eyes on the trees so that I can listen for the wind. I know that the wind blows the trees and I saw the wind blow the trees, but I could not hear her. And then, suddenly there was a soft whistle. I smiled a big smile. “There you are!” I can hear you! I can really hear the wind blowing over the machines!” This is not made up by the way. I really heard the wind, and like a chorus locusts and birds began to sing.
“Hey! Hey you! Over here.”
I turned to my right.
A dog was barking my way. I’m sure he was talking to me. He was all the way across the street but there was no one else around. Yes, I’m sure he was talking to me.
“Hey! Good Morning Mr. Doggy.”
“You see me? See? Hey you, over here.”
“I see you Mr. Doggy.
“Hey Hey! Hey you! See? You see me yet?”
“I see you,” I said.
I ignored the dog. He kept asking if I saw him. By now I was almost finished with my coffee and it would be time to walk about. I started to notice people leave their houses but there was something about them. No one said a word. They all seemed fixed on one thought. Getting to work.
“Hmmm,” I thought. I wondered what led each person to his or her location. A man walked up the steps to his apartment. “Hmmm”, I thought. I wonder what his life is like, what led him to come back. Maybe he forgot his wallet. No, he’s way too calm. It was something else. Maybe he was killing time. It was hard to tell. His face was expressionless. He didn’t sing like the birds. In fact, the people I saw weren’t interesting at all. Yea, it’s time to start my walk.
I recruited the company of my new friends. Mr. Sun proudly rose to the occasion, Ms. Wind was already in front of me and the insects said they would catch up later but to tell the other insects that they said hi. I promised I would.
As I walked, the people I saw were poker-faced. Vacant. No one smiled. No one spoke. No one sung. I suddenly wished I was back on my front porch. At least there was life among the elements. Most of the early risers just stared at me. They were not living. They just existed. They seemed to wait to me. To be told what to do. Waiting for someone to explain to them how to live. Meanwhile, I heard more singing from the insects and the birds.
“Hey, the birds back at the apartments said hi.”
They responded with a song. Wish I knew the words. I’d be happy to sing along. No, the people would think I’m crazy. I kept walking.
I saw a Chinese man trimming his grass. He waved.
“Good Morning” I said.
Never mind. I don’t think he speaks English.
Finally, I sensed liveliness in front of me. A woman was taking her daughter to school and the little girls energy reached me before she did. It was refreshing.
“How you doing?” said the woman. Her question was muffled and her downcast eyes ignored my response.
“I’m well, how are you?”
But it was too late, the routine courtesy was done and the woman had already moved on. Suddenly, her little girl turned around as they walked. Her smile dimmed the sun a bit. I’m sure he was jealous and would tell me about it when we got back to the porch. The little girl held up two fingers. It was the peace sign.
“Peace! Two peace!” she said as she skipped along.
“Hey!” I said.
I smiled big and kept walking. I decided to stop half-way down the next block and turn around. It was time to go back home. There is life in this world after all.