sacred solitude. [#its5oclocksomewhere.]

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Friday. April 20th. 5pm.
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I ease my foot off the gas and let my car slow to a steady crawl as I wind my way up the mountain. Joggers and walkers and grandmas with their grandkids and pet owners with their dogs. All making the steady accent to the top with me. It’s a goregous spring day and my sunroof is wide open. I look up, over the rim of my sunglasses, and let the sunlight roll over my face.

My friends thought I was running a quick errand and returning in 20 minutes to the coffee shop when we were all gathered. But that was before I found the side road with the sign, “To the top of the mountain” at it’s entrance. Who can pass up a sign like that? And why would you want to?

As I round the final curve to the left and pull into the gravel parking lot, the view is already well worth the spontaneity, and I haven’t even gotten out of my car yet. Coming to the limp rope that marks the edge of the parking lot, I step over it and find a large, flat rock, warmed by an afternoon of baking in the sun. I cross my legs and take a seat, wondering about the countless others that have done the same. The sun still sits high in the sky, and below me the valley shines like a bowl of diamonds – bright light reflecting off of windows and signs and the tops of buildings. The city sits on the banks of a large lake, and the water lays lazily in the warmth of the day. I close my eyes and realize, though the city looks so large from my perch on the mountain, I can’t hear even one of it’s sounds from way up here. Instead, the birds nested in the trees behind me create the soundtrack for this moment, as they mix with the sound of running shoes on pavement and the purr of slow-moving car engines and of two friends laughing together at they walk further up the trail.

Sitting there with my eyes closed I smile, knowing there’s not a soul on the planet that knows I’m here right now. And for some reason, that makes me feel even more connected to this place. Like my presence here is a secret that we share. I take in the details of this moment and add it to the catalouge of experiences that shape the person I am, even though they aren’t shared with anyone but myself and the earth beneath my bare feet.

And it is perfect.

……………………………………….

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sometimes life doesn’t need a commentary. [#its5oclocksomewhere]

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Thursday. April 19th. 5pm.
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An ambulance drives by. I can’t hear the sirens because my headphones are in, but the flashing lights are a dead giveaway. A cyclist has dismounted from his bike and sits at one of the tables outside. One by one, several others join him and I wonder if they realize how silly they all look, wrapped in tight bright yellow clothing, walking awkwardly on special shoes that makes their toes sit several inches higher than their heels, and still wearing their helmets and intense biker sunglasses. Seriously, they look ridiculous – are they aware, I wonder? Walking by on the brick-inlaid sidewalk, a rough looking gentleman, maybe in his 60s, carries a bag full of cans and pop bottles and stops at every pay-parking machine checking for unclaimed coins. When he stops to talk to a young woman, sitting and smoking alone at a table, she just laughs and he keeps walking.

The sky is quickly changing from pale blue to dull grey, but the constant stream of people outside my window doesn’t flinch. Beyond my music I can hear the prevailing sound of coffee grinders, and the smell of the freshly broken beans keep me from forgetting where I am; like a salt stick waved under my nose, unconscious thought remains impossible. The trees that line both sides of the street are wrapped in lights and their white twinkle is becoming more and more visible, as dusk slowly prepares the way for evening. A group of women, and one man they seemed to have dragged along, go power-walking by, dressed to the nines in Lulu Lemon and talking as fast as they’re walking, while the man just smiles and nods. Walking in the opposite direction, a little boy tags along behind a group of grownups, his eyes lifted to the blue balloon he carries with him, the string clutched in his tiny hands. Birds fly in lazy circles overhead and I wonder what the view is like from up there.

Today I have lots to see and little to say.
Sometimes life doesn’t need a commentary.

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the contours of his body. [#its5oclocksomewhere.]

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Wednesday. April 18th. 5pm.
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I slide my hand along the contour of his back. The muscles under my palm are large and solid. They twitch and quiver, recovering for the previous hour’s exertion. Bringing my hand to the side of his face, we make eye contact and I wonder what he thinks of me as he turns his head away. Some call it crazy, and others call it useless. But I swear, those big, black eyes of his can see me. The fact that some sort of connection can be made between the two of us still blows my mind. But him and I, though vastly different, are both expressions of life. And that, if nothing else, deserves to be honored.

The door behind us swings freely on it’s hinges, opening and closing on the wings of the wind. Rain has begun to fall on the metal roof above, the sound of a million tiny tin soldiers marching into battle. Spring spins and twirls in the air and I inhale the smell of life. I let it fill my nostrils, plummet down the back of my windpipe and explode in my lungs with all of the vitality and essence that it can muster.

The horse beside me snorts and I watched as he playfully flaps his lips. He butts me in the shoulder with his nose and slides his face close to mine. I smile and press my forehead to his. Rubbing the puff of white in the spot between his eyes I laugh, “See Rupert, I knew you liked me.”

If life were to boil down to this one moment, you could bury me in the ground and return my body to the earth as one happy woman. Because if right here, and right now, isn’t enough – what ever would be?


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a penny for your thoughts. [#its5oclocksomewhere.]

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Tuesday. April 17th. 5pm.
………………………………………..
This certainly isn’t your typical location for catching your breath and collecting your thoughts. But the opportunity has presented itself nonetheless and, let’s face it, I need it. Heck, I’d settle for a crowded waiting room in the office of a paediatrician right about now, if it meant a few minutes of spare time to think.

I stare at the keys still clutched in my hands and am completely aware of the fact that I am zoning out, giving myself over unashamedly to the blank stare that has crept across my face. It’s a good thing I’ve somewhat come to know the girl standing across from me. I mean, it’s not like we’re still strangers – what’s the point in feeling awkward anymore. “We’re practically friends by this point,” I think to myself, and silently fall back into my mental solitude. The punching of keys, the scratching of a pen and the rhythm of the stamp, the opening and closing of drawers, none of these things phase me as I internally sort out my day; what I’ve done, what I didn’t have time to get to, the plans I realistically won’t be able to fit into this week’s crazy schedule. And the way my eyes are still fuzzy and funny feeling, dilated from my eye exam earlier this afternoon.

“Please sign here,” are the words that buoy me back to the surface, and I recognize an urgency partnering with the usual kindness of her voice. As I come back into the room mentally, I am reminded by voices ending phone conversations, glass doors and metal bars sliding shut, keys locking cabinets and drawers into place, and coworkers saying goodbye for the day, that I had just barely slipped in here before the 5o’clock closing time and I realize I am keeping this new friend of mine from finishing her work and heading home. I quickly scrawl out a signature. “Thanks, and they will unlock the front door to the left to let you out,” she assures me and, as usual, I make certain to look her in the eye as I smile and wish her a great evening. She smiles back and I feel confident now: Ya, we’re friends.

I slip on my sunglasses and head for my car, thankful for the friendship and few minutes of peace that the bank has provided for me today, as unusual a location as it may be for such things.


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2am and 4 drinks in… [#its5oclocksomewhere.]

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Monday. April 16th. 5pm
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I swivel my chair to the right and stare out of the floor-to-ceiling windows that bank this side of my office. Wow. What a day. My co-worker has just left, and boy did we experience one intensely productive day together.

Turning back to my laptop, I tie up some loose ends and put it away. My bag slides into the familiar spot over my shoulder and I reach for the apple, celery stick, and two carrots I never got to today. I chug what’s left of my water and flip the light off on my way out of the office. Sliding into my car, I reach immediately for the radio and turn it up as loud as I can handle it. I’m fortunate enough that a great song was already playing and waiting for me, because who likes to crank the radio just to have another annoying commercial for a Honda dealership blaring out your eardrums? I mean, seriously. And of course, knowing that you’ve got to keep your priorities straight, I make sure my sunroof is wide open before putting on my seatbelt or anything else.

Now hear me out: I like to think of myself as a general appreciator of music, with fairly broad interests in terms of genre. I will probably find something I like in just about anything you throw at me. But there are just some days… you know the ones I’m talking about… when the only music that will do is something with a dirty bass line and some heavy rap. (Don’t even ask me what exactly that means.) So when “Not Afraid” by Eminem comes on as I pull out of the parking lot, I shamelessly begin pumping my fist through my sunroof and dancing in my car like it was 2am and I was 4 drinks into the best night of my life. Still filled with the adrenaline of the day and needing to wind down as I headed home, I have begun laughing uncontrollably. That’s right. Out loud. In my car, all by myself.

And it hits me: Who needs to wait until 2am and 4 drinks in before they let their hair down and celebrate their day? Nah, 5pm and 2 sticks of celery, an orange, some raw oatmeal and two bottles of water sounds juuuuust about right for this girl. Because the day is meant to be celebrated. I want to enjoy it, allow it to be fully spent, and then dance my booty off in celebration of it. Give me Eminem and a drive through my city after a long and productive day at work, and I’ll give you someone who feels on top of the world!

……………….
*This is the “clean” version, but it is still Eminem… So, consider yourself parentally advised.


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