Though my back still ached like there is construction going on inside, I decided to venture a walk this morning in the still cool morning air. Or so I thought.
The sun was already higher than a tall stick. The air baked my skin making it tingle and buzz. I squinted sadly missing my dark shades. I looked at the boy walking beside me, happily bouncing up and down from one spot to another.
"How can you stand the sun so bright like this?"
A short pause and he said:
"I don't know... it just feels good. You know? On your skin."
I told him I missed my forgotten sun glasses.
"Oh, just don't look at the concrete."
Then I saw it. Specs of sparks flew from the ground we walk on as he points out to me, waking up to sunshine in reflections. The sky spilled over its blueness while cradling stars tired from their all night dances. Dark magnolia leaves twirled their hunter green outfits trimmed in silvery shine, and a choir of birds conspired in code hiding behind the sanctuary of branches and leaves.
I walked on from the school after saying goodbyes. Behind the mess of cars dropping students off, a giant tent loomed in the tree lines. Its bold blue and red strips brought on memories of circus, or perhaps one of those hot air balloons that frequented this neighborhood. An overzealous parent ordered a super sized jumper for a child's birthday party, I concluded. Until I pass the obscuring trees to see it enveloped a house and no doubt acted as a termite exterminating tent. I pictured the displaced family, distressed parents and perhaps excited children, in the way a sleep away adventure tends to make boring daily routines new and exciting.
As I cross over to the west side of the school to make the loop back, I got a call from a friend. She had heard about a fatal accident involving perhaps the name of a mutual acquaintance. It turned out a case of mistaken identity.
I sigh with relief while feeling heavyhearted for the real victim. A fragrant bush passed me by and sent a waft of perfume too tempting to resist. I paused to open my palms and receive a snowy blossom parachuting down with the breeze. I gazed into its delicate pedals, hardly holding yet bruising it easily on several sides. Its pristine color quickly tainted with a shade of yellow and rust, like amber tears shed for its departure. Evidence of crushing pressure lay scattered on the side walk, a blanket of snowy pedals and yellowing carcasses of former flowers.
Cars whizzed by as their heavy tires screeched against the unforgiving hardness of the road, traveling at around 60 miles an hour on a residential through fair. I knew the sense of rush. I drove the road with that same feeling of drowning in a life too full of schedules and events. I had that same sense of never catching up, always running late, and needing to squeeze two seconds out of every block, to beat the red lights coming on, to be a little less late for picking up or dropping off.
Yet in our rush we tend to forget the monster we call cars weighing several thousand pounds traveling at a heart wrenching speed. They turn into careless killing machines at the lightest touch of a pedal, an easy turn of the wrist, in the blink of an eye, a tiny flicker of attention diverted. We think little of the powers they yield after that initial week, month or at most year of obtaining our license. Instead we drive with our knees, while applying our make up, talk on the cell phone, send text messages or read a book. We think there is an invincible charm with the invisibility of hiding behind wheels, shielded from face to face awkwardness and manners we grew up learning. We sit behind a beast with iron teeth, crushing steel frames and an appetite to destroy and we hardly blink when we turn on the switch to let it go, hoping for the best. Just look at the statistics.
I close the loop by walking up the gate into the quiet complex filled with sunshine, spring plantings and sounds of life. Babies cried into the distance, into a new journey they call life, full of morning glories and crushed fragrances. While somewhere not too far, as the earth churns against the sun, life scraps by on the roads we built, as we rush to destinations we know nothing of, painting the stretch marks of our own demise, under the sun, laced in rain, while stars and clouds stand witness and sigh into their collective tears.