* * *
When I don't have morning meetings, conference calls across the pond, or morning classes at it is the case more recently, I'd sometimes try and sneak away to Starbucks for a moment of stillness amidst all the commotions in my life.
Not that Starbucks doesn't have its own commotions. Far from it. This morning, I had only a place to stand outside on the patio. Most of the seats caught some of the morning rain, and the tables inside buzzed with discussions or meetings of one sort or another. So I stood by the fountain they recently put up, nibbling on my chocolate croissant and stared into glasses, sidewalks and people. I felt a bit like Holly Golightly as she stared into much more expensive windows, even though nary a single pearl encircled my neck and my outfits were not nearly as black. A slight mist settled in just as I did, along with a small crowd.
Like that pair of students, middle school or maybe younger, walking side by side sharing an ipod with one ear bud each. They walked with the confidence and synchronization of a single spokesperson, all black outfitted with bright white wires outlining their contour and their steps.
Or that runner, pushing a baby stroller of twins. Her babies were no more than a few months old, but she looked to be ready for her next marathon. Her friend, an office worker in a neat pinstripe shirt and gray slacks, gave her a hug and an admiring look. Their walked in nearly one after another, but they parted soon after in opposite directions.
The white haired retiree struck up a conversation with the older couple sitting on the outdoor chaise.
"Hey did you hear about this new show they are doing in Huntington?"
His tiny black terrier sniffed the couple's pug and made nervous but cheerful circles amidst the tiny new group.
"No! When is it going to be? .... You know, we did hear about this new wine tasting venue up there, it's supposed to be really neat."
Their faces lit as they talked, even under the shadow of the giant umbrellas directly overhead. It was a typical morning in coastal San Diego, gray, misty, and cool. The sun hid just beneath the surface of the marine layer, so you can still stand outdoors and see without squinting.
I stood there observing them, noticing how they moved with a speed of fullness and yet a stillness that left a mark for those watching.
* * *
I often wondered what Holly was thinking in that opening scene of the movie, watching an empty street before Manhattan woke up and joined her in the daily rush. In a way, she was standing at the start of the movie, "play" button not yet pressed, all were hidden and the promised unfolding of a great story lying just beyond the lift of a finger tip, or two.
I supposed she might also have been thinking about other things - glamorous things and those not so much - like parties and hang overs, changes and the future, or about panics and desires, or hungers and loss. But in movies or in real life, I'm glad they left some things unsaid; so my imaginations can fill in the blanks. I stood there, crossing the threshold of wishing and hoping, admiring at the peak of thanking and believing.
The sun finally rose, unleashing an abundance of light onto the canvas of life, illuminating both stillness and motions in me. Dreams recede and hopes rose, along with those cool breezes in the morning mists. In the light of the day, grayness revealed itself as a calm and pleasant background for all things vivid, lively and momentous.
And just like that, I rushed forward again, leaving a streak of motion behind and no longer on "pause".