A squirrel nervously munches corn in the elevated feeder while others on the ground work up the boldness necessary to challenge him for their own turn at the prize. Birds fly and flit to and from the feeder nearby, in a constant ballet of wings and sound, while a breeze sways the Zebra grass now faded to the color of harvest ready wheat. The sun warms the November air as our witch craft practicing meteorologists predict a fifty degree day. Occasionally a car drives by, on its way to who knows where. People walk or jog, walk their dogs, wave and smile at one another, some from behind their masks. And time, that elusive human invention, slowly moves ever onward, looked back on, looked forward to by all those who pass this way.
The neighbor’s cat saunters aimlessly into my yard, and stops to observe the birds, perhaps contemplating what it might feel like to catch one, if she were younger. But at her age she is content just to watch and dream, or maybe not content, maybe wistfully longing for the days of her youth, if cats can think that way. Leaves slide across the the concrete driveway, the scratching dry sound filling the air as crows squawk from the tree limbs overhead. The wind sock on the flag pole waves brightly Northward, and another car moves slowly down the street.
I pick up my tea cup, sip slowly on the warm liquid and wonder how many people were involved in bringing this tea to my door. From the tea plant growing in China, to bringing to cup to my lips may have taken hundreds of actions by hundreds of people, none of whom I will ever know, all with lives to live, so different from my own, which I will never encounter. The radio is tuned to a classical station, playing music written two hundred years ago, played by an orchestra from Germany and broadcast through the air on electrical equipment invented, made, and operated by hundreds of people, none of whom I will ever know, all with lives to live, so different from my own, which I will never encounter.
My furnace comes on, the movement of air from the vent blows a dust bunny across the floor, reminding me of the ever present job of cleaning the house. Dishes drying in the rack on the counter await my intention to put them away as I ignore the responsibility and sip my now cooling tea. The job will be done, in its own time but right now I feel a greater need to sit at the keyboard of my computer and write these words, words that will be seen and read only by a few of the billions of humans who now populate this burdened planet. All the responsibilities, all the needs, all the obligations we place on ourselves, only a few of which have actual importance, pile up on our shoulders like backpacks, the weight of which bears down on us from nowhere, because it’s not real. To write is to loosen the weight, and set it on this imaginary page awhile, believing that I am free of worry, as we all must occasionally do, to preserve our sanity.
Three children run down the street playing tag, jumping and screeching in pure enjoyment, scattering birds from trees and worries from minds not knowing what lies before them, and thus not caring for anything but this moment of joy. My tea, now cold, I pour into the sink and rinse the cup. Later, I will put away the dishes and sweep the floor but for now I will run and jump and play tag. I will scatter birds and chase squirrels. I will yell with joy and run down the street. And I will dream.