No one is on the street.
When the sun lights up the air before me it is alive with pollen and dust which settles into the cracks of the asphalt like a golden mend.
I find a log by the creek, eat a couple pieces of toast from a paper sack in my pocket, then paint the forest. The sun shifts the colors as I work. Green and gold trees emerge from black shadows.
When my hands are cold I pack up my paint and walk into the woods where some earnestness finds me in the early angled light. As if all my life my body wanted this one thing: to wake at dawn—to paint trees.
And all this time I’ve been making a nice breakfast instead.
The streets are quiet as I walk to the creek. I hurry through the ugly underpass, remembering a time when I loved the city and its grey places of decay.
In the woods, the sun lights up the bends of the creek where I sit on a log and draw two trees.
It’s not the forest’s fault I forgot how to love an urban eyesore.
On the way home a crow is in the underpass throwing his ingracious voice into the amplified cavern. I take a moment to consider the stately cement columns caught in the sideways light, then startle when a shadow slips along the street from the sidewalk above.
Who better than a loud crow to revive the glamour of an ugly underpass?
The other day I woke up on the couch after a nap and felt like an adult suddenly. Like my spirit was intact in my body, settled into my life choices and needing only to continue along on this amazing adventure with complete trust in my capableness.
Eventually I had to get up to shower and prepare for the next day and the feeling faded. But for a couple days after I felt unrushed, content to do the dishes by hand, eager to clean the bathroom because it’s such a rewarding task. Also, the hot-pink blow dryer I bought on sale was no longer a disappointment because it is useful even if garish.
I remembered my hermit days and how I loved to cook and wash the dishes. How one day a week I cleaned my apartment and it was my favorite day. It seems so charming until I remember how depressed and lonely I was.
I wonder if I can extract that mindful element of enlightenment philosophy and carry it with me on this inward journey into the depths of an engaged life.
I don’t see why not.
I consider Landscape Diaries and how it started out as an attempt to remove the idea of a boundary between my psyche and nature. What if I also removed the imaginary boundary between nature and my indoor habitats—my job, my home, my endeavors, other people?
We are all still mammals. Everywhere we go is our habitat, everything we do is part of our nature but there’s no reason not to seize the opportunity our divided brains give us to cultivate the best parts of our nature, to make habitat for ourselves that supports our beauty instead of anxiety and isolation.
I have no idea how I’ll do this, but I am up for the adventure.