Saturday, September 23, 2017

Yearning for natural light

At the moment, I'm considering a job change.  One of the factors I have to make peace with is that instead of walking six blocks to work, many of the opportunities right now involve traveling.  Quite a bit of traveling over many miles in a car. 

Yesterday I had one interview and I drove about three hours through the country-side to meet with the interviewer, a midpoint between our hometowns.  I was prepared, but I accidentally left my list of questions at home.  Today I found them, along with many pieces of writing, some of which I just published.  A notebook tossed aside in my clothes-closet, until now.  And in this notebook is a very interesting piece to me, today. Transcribing here...

     She could feel it, a gentle breeze on her soul whenever she drove by a field.  A meadow.  Some trees on the edge, deep shade, a few bees, wildflowers: purple clover, yellow black-eyed susans, white (?) that spilled behind that rusty mailbox. Those soybeans are a brilliant lemon-yellow, then rusty copper, then soft brown.
     She sat in her cubicle with the stale air, no natural light, only light from artificial sources -- an overhead fluorescent bulb, under-storage bin desk light and a small lamp from home.  Endeavoring to recreate the feeling and mood of natural light.  Endeavoring to make the best of a ill-fitting, square-peg-round-hole thing.  Making the best of it is what she excels at.

OK, gets a little sarcastic from here, but interesting that my musings from maybe 18 months ago are answering a question I have today.  I don't recall writing it, but it is all about how I don't like working in a cubicle and wish I could get out in the natural light more.  Hmmm.... interesting. Universe? 

And I do love, love, love the road-side weeds.  I have often wanted to find out who is responsible for the natural plantings on the interstates in Illinois, in the gulley between the cars driving in opposite directions.  To thank them for not mowing but sowing. The natural wave of purple, and blends of gold and beige have seemed like a painting to me more than once.  I've never met another weed-lover but there must be one out there.  It actually endangers my driving abilities as I stare at the ever-changing, never the same combinations nature has planted.  Traveling might have its perks.

I wasn't brilliant enough to stop and take a picture yesterday, but this is the idea, courtesy of google images. Your weeds are my art...
Part 3 & 4 -- Completely judgment-free zones

Goodwill.  You don't have to dress up.  It is cathartic because like a garage sale you can spend very little or nothing and still feel entertained.  Unlike a garage sale, it is air-conditioned, has bathrooms and everything in one stop.

Goodwill is a good-familiar, and out of town today, guaranteed anonymous. No one knows I'm here.  No one is waiting on me in there to return a call, answer an email, or fix a problem.

I can move slowly or quickly.  I can feel my tension easing, like a good meditation.  Used books.  Forks.  Crazy outfits. Restful to me.  Today I find a book called "Seeds" by Thomas Merton.  Lots of sticky notes, tabs, highlighted passages. Someone has done all the work for me.  Inside front cover a jotted note to look at page 115.  Where I find "Our vocation....Work with God in creating our own lives, our own identity, our own destiny."  Not subtle, God.

Books. Bookstores. The beauty of.
No one tries to make eye contact in a bookstore.  People casually browse knowing the protocol.  Bookstores are not for chit chat.  Not for phone calls.  Not for laughter.  Bookstore-lovers follow these unwritten rules.  I am pleased.  I feel safe in bookstores.  No judgment. Obviously bookstores have a thousand facets to their wonderfulness, but for today, I'm just claiming the white-noise-like quality that soothes the brain.

And, they contain, b o o k s.  That is all.
Part 2 -- Walmart
As you pull it the parking lot it looks pretty much exactly like any other Walmart.  Except I'm not at home.  So I will not bump into anyone from high school or church or work or the neighborhood.  I can wander from 17cent spiral notebooks (too flimsy, I like hard backing) to $5 pajamas to $22 phone chargers that are out of stock.  I can browse every book in the book section.  I can buy deodorant and get back to my car without revealing anything. To anyone.

I am relieved to get outside my head for 35 minutes and to sit in the parking lot writing for five more.

Babies, young adults, flip flops, electric scooter, heavy white Velcro tennis shoes.  Fifteen SUV type vehicles of approximately similar shades of gray are in my site.  Am I the only person who doesn't own one?

An elderly man gets out of his shiny red junker, all four windows down, shirtless.  He grabs a  shirt from the back seat and finishes dressing.  Slowly, casually, like he's done this before.  He saunters inside looking suitable. A bright orange shirt with black writing on it.

Someone pulls over just to remove a flier for a local fundraiser from their windshield.  A retiree in a mint-green golf shorts and a Hawaiian shirt places his cart is the cart farm cautiously.

Lots of top knots of messy hair. It is 3pm on a Wednesday.  Why are they all here?  Why aren't they stuck in a windowless cubicle?