Was it really only six days ago that I wrote this while dodging 30 degree burns in a Park Street coffee shop?
Home’s circular fan shifting dampness within fitful sleep, the coldness of discarded neck pillow reunited with my head, that dismay at a distant November longing for ‘just one little smidgen of sunshine and warmth,’ are all now briefly remembered with a wipe of my sweat rag and a guttural, definitely frustrated sigh.
The same kind of sigh that woke my wife this morning, that started my day much too early for its own good, that elicited this current sideways look from my arm chaired Coffee Shop neighbour.
Yes in the deep thug and bother of this new day I find myself half way from home, half way to work, staring at life going by. Staring and waiting for inspiration and for this thick swirl of coffee to cool. Watching the drip drip overfill of a cities pacing minutes as the clock closes in on nine am.
Noticing these streets, brightly distorted with emancipated brick dust and a shimmer and sheen from the nose to bumper nose to bumper conga line of congestion, gently offering their hot workout to exposed skin, surreptitiously suggesting deep ingestion to thinly clad young lungs bursting within ardent strides and their need to ‘get there and there and to get there once again.’
My languishing foot swells for them, for the city dwellers traipsing outside this damply conditioned coffee shop and as I sip my brew to the Deliveroo moped pip pip pippig his way through, I adjust my sweat, exhaust in moistness and try to breathe a clearing in the clog of my tired waiting heart, in my pregnant pulse hoping to launch goodness and joy into these hard trodden city streets.
And as the froth sticks to my upper lip I smile to remember my shrinking walk thus far. My inward flinch to the hum of richly rotted wheelie bins lining my South Bristol route. Who in their right mind would welcome such a stench, such an unwanted express of our discarded living?
Remembering the diesel sheen and the over pitched radio heralding in the odd assortment, the four neon clad bin collectors, all woolly hats and shouts of ‘attention’ and ‘left a bit,’ and ‘to the right mate,’ as their vehicle reversed to attention,
‘attention, attention vehicle reversing, attention………’
Yes my attention was averted, my nose haughtily placed, but now reflecting on their grind I connect with a thankfulness for those humpingly slow city litter scatterers.
What a blessing they are, those livers of this city.
And somehow I drift towards Titch Nhat Hahns lovely little book ‘No lotus without mud,’ and within the next few breaths and coffee slurps, I practice breathing in the dark dank smells, the compost and rot, and breathing out pure clear light. Imagining walking and breathing thus, so a flower could sprout within the shadow of each footfall, each shit mound.
What if this impromptu Ton-Glen could spin my love and appreciation towards those workers, just as easily the oft quoted flap of a butterfly’s wing can be felt all around the world.
And with a smile, I settle to read and bask in some nourishment…..
‘Everything belongs, God uses everything: Everything is recycled, there are no wasted energies….God forgives (and loves) all things for being imperfect, broken and poor.’ Ricahrd Rohr, Everything Belongs P130
Five Mindfulness Trainings, number two: True Happiness.
‘I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that I can live happily in the present moment by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy.’