today was one of those exquisite spring days. i spent the morning working in the backyard (sweeping the patio, cleaning the outdoor furniture & thinking that they needed to be re-stained this summer) making sure i took lots of little breaks to admire my work (& to rest my aching back) all this work the downside to having been a lazy bum, ignoring these chores/finding excuses/generally avoiding physical labor.
this afternoon, on a walk through our hillside neighborhood, i carefully composed several photographs utilizing my digital camera that carefully mimicked those i had taken yesterday with the camera in a mobile cell phone, thinking that they needed to be seen clearly & without the gauze of. its low resolution.
the atmosphere sparkled with sunlight, glinting & shimmering against the little shards of mirror-like moisture/smog/onshore ocean air that makes the light in southern california particularly attractive (to artists, photographers, writers.) i wanted to capture that sparkling light & hoped that its elusive quality would translate itself as if i had been able to capture the moment when a conjurer makes his beautiful assistant disappear in a wisp of smoke (& mirror.)
with the sun as bright as it was, i ducked among the shade thrown by ficus trees along the sidewalk to take a moment’s cool respite from the sun’s intensity. i reviewed the photographs i had already taken & was delighted to see that it was capturing the mosaic quality of the valley below & the pixelated light.
interestingly, both gardening & walking have been solitary pursuits, & i have been left with my own thoughts & dreams & ruminations, only the thrum of the occasional car passing by in the canyon below or speeding up the hill–birdsong punctuating the script. i am often stunned by the lack of people walking & enjoying our beautiful neighborhood & the stunning views we are privileged to have at a moment’s notice. i rarely come across anyone else on one of my perambulations through the neighborhood which leaves me saddened & elated.
i faced the steep uphill walk, its vanishing point a shady goal from the relentless (but pleasantly familiar) sunlight, a warm, friendly arm around my shoulders. i thought of a drafting class that i took in 8th or 9th grade, taught by mr. ________, the crew-cut, button-down, chino-wearing ‘shop’ teacher who gently allowed me my incompetencies in wood/metal shop class (in case any of us were not cut out for further academic study, technical school instead) & encouraged & admired my drafting flourishes with kind words & high marks.
a young star pine (aka norfolk island pine) at the top of the hill drew me to its gallant handsomeness, branches bursting from its trunk in a joyous hallelujah of matter over mind (will we see more clearly after death?) a joyous evocation of the beauty of nature/the nature of beauty.
i heard the beating of my heart in counterpoint to the beating of a bird’s wings, the rush & rustle of the wind on the upbeat; the sun, even, harmonically shimmering, twinkling, tinkling.
again, like yesterday, i looped around the top of the hill through a more manicured community, each shrub, tree, lawn, pavement, shadow elegantly topiaried & espaliered; all bending nature to do man’s bidding; thinking that for now, we may believe we can see through the lens of this life, but darkly, darkly.