Thoughts and Plans

“It’s a lovely morning.”

Her breath escaped from her lips carrying the scent of a half forgotten dream.
I opened my eyes and took in the sunlight that softened the walls of the bedroom.
“It is,” I said, putting my arm around her waist, and pulling her closer.

We lay there together. I stared into the curve of her back. She stared into the whiteness of the wall. Both of us focused.

“What would you like to do today?” I asked. She released a soft sigh that hung in the air like a question.

Silence.

“How about I go get us some coffee?” I said.
“What time is it?” she asked.
“A little after ten.”

Still sleepy, I stumbled out of bed and reached for my glasses. My jeans and t-shirt lay stale and abandoned on the floor.
“Hurry back love.”
“I will,” I said, putting on my jeans.

With my head muddled and confused, I stepped out into the new morning. I listened to the soft murmur of a city still asleep and to the churning of my thoughts that bubbled up from mysterious places.

The air was cool and quiet, embracing the backyard in a cloak of mist and fog. It was like a dance, this new day arising. It felt as if all the possibilities, if I could entertain them just for a moment, would swell up and blow me over like wind and waves. I would even say it was peaceful.

I was in the narrow alley behind our house when I had an indescribable feeling that somehow something was missing. Instinctively I felt my back pocket for my wallet. “No, it’s there.”

Just as the light poked through a patch of fog and illuminated the grey stones of the building that faced the alley, I suddenly sensed something of another quality, like a breeze from nowhere. It felt like an invitation to just settle into the moment, into things just as they are. Everything was more vibrant and alive. Then a car door slammed, just once, and this small opening in this new day closed. I was overtaken by thoughts. By plans.  I tried to find that moment again, groping after it like a fat man in a marathon.

“I’m going to try to remember myself. I’m going to try to be here now, in this moment.”

I took a thoughtful, but exaggerated breath, and tried to bring my sleep soaked body into my feeble awareness.

“I have feet, legs and hands,” I said to myself as I tried to become aware of them.

I watched my thoughts appear and then, receiving no attention, drop away, back to their mysterious origin. I felt like a boat wandering aimlessly, tossing and turning over dark deep waters. For a moment, I realized that this is probably how I am most mornings, running through the random and the ridiculous.

A few moments later, I found myself at the local coffee shop, transfixed in front of several shelves of delicious looking pastries. The caramel covered chocolate brownies in particular, drew out a weakness in me.

Then in the low hum of morning conversations, soft jazz music and the clinking and clattering of cups, I remembered that I had forgotten all about trying to remember myself; to be here now.
”Maybe I should skip the brownies for today as a punishment,” I thought.

“Can I help you?” the young woman behind the counter asked
“Yeah, can I have two medium coffees and two of those amazing chocolate brownies?”
“Sure,” she said smiling gently.
She turned to get the coffee as I stood there fumbling over my wallet.
“Excuse me,” I said.

The woman placed the paper cups of steaming fresh black coffee in front of me.
“Yes?” she asked, picking up silver tongs and approaching the pastry case.
“Do you have any bad habits?” I asked.
She looked thoughtful for a moment and then she let out a quiet laugh, her face flushed.
“Umm, yeah I do,” she said, “I never live my life in the moment, y’know, like right now even though I try really hard to.”

A few seconds passed between us. It felt as though a door had opened, like an invitation to a deeper mystery. We stood there in the silence, simply looking into each others eyes. We were relating to each other, somehow. There was no need for words.

Then, a door slammed, and I returned to the white noise, the fluorescent lights, and to my thoughts, and plans.

“Yeah, I have that habit too,” I said finally, smiling with her.

I walked out of the coffee shop with the sounds of soft jazz music, the morning conversations and the clinking and clattering of cups fading behind me.

It was just before eleven.

PHOTOGRAPH: Holly Lynton | “Mean Ceiling,” May 2004. C-print 17″x23″

11 responses

  1. I read aloud. And it feels natural when reading your work. You have the ability to transport me to a specific place that then opens out to an inspiring vista. But then you accomplish the reverse. I am learning that you are a gentle and powerful communicator.
    I cannot assume what it means to you when you are in your own moments of receiving and bearing inspiration but I know for myself, it is a journey of unknown measure, that has no beginning and no end. I want to thank you for being a part of that.

  2. Yes. More of Luke’s voice, please. We need it. Gentle and powerful indeed. A nice juxtaposition. By the way, what’s the fictional part? The contemplative barista? Have a wonderful respite these next few weeks my friend.

  3. Thank you, Katherine. You have been missed. I’m sitting here with that waiting-for-a plane kind of feeling for the ride that will take me five hours away and into a retreat, and also, hopefully deep into the unknown. Have a marvelous August.

  4. Luke, I couldn’t help but bring to your attention, the lovely, full circle aspect here from Walt’s comment/recommendation. See attribution especially: http://silencesounds.tumblr.com/post/1704109180. I’d love to, really love to read this book. Oh, and should Walt read this comment, I’d very much like to connect, particularly since we’re neighbors in NWCT. Yours in vigilance, Katherine

  5. Dear Walt,

    Thank you so much for recommending this book. I picked up a copy of it this afternoon. It’s just the food I need right now. Thank again. I hope that you and Katherine have the opportunity to connect.

    warm regards,

    Luke

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s