Each time I water my garden it is hot. The plants are thirsty and the soil is dry, they drink in the waterfall and beg me for more, I am a bad plant Mom but I try harder to be better each day–each day I give them more and each day I look forward to putting my hand under the cascading flow, closing my eyes and wishing that the stream was flowing over me. I think, What a lovely shower this would be, let’s go jump into a river and float away for a few days, and then each shower I take in my small Chicago apartment I try to recreate the refreshing chill I pour out of the watering pal. Sometimes a success, sometimes it’s not quite right. When I leave the garden it is beautiful, full and happy. I whisper loving words and tell each plant they are special.
My soap smells like citrus petals, I think, what are citrus petals? I question. As I shave my legs dirt falls from my skin, the dirt from the city accumulates on my body as I ride my bike miles each day. The citrus petals clean my skin, the razor makes it smooth and the refreshing waterfall rinses me off. I suppose the citrus petals clean me of other dirt too. The dirt of a long day, the dirt of hours and hours of trying and working and thinking and feeling, of self talk and continuous motivation that seemingly goes nowhere –the moment under my waterfall clears me of everything. Time transcends and responsibility falls to the wayside. Shaving my legs I notice my amber skin to my ankles, a tan line and white feet, amber to mid thigh and then a harsh line where cloth falls when I am in the sun. I notice scars that will not go away and curves that I have not quite come to accept yet. The waterfall’s magical effects wash down with the drain as I wrap myself in a towel.
In my garden I dig my hands in the dirt to pull weeds and plant new vegetables. The spade is broken but I don’t mind–the Earth, she speaks to me through my hands and in my body, the soil harbors life, sustains it and, well, it makes me dirty. A different dirty than the dirt on my legs from the city. This is a dirty of life, of energy, of sunshine and of love. The dirt gets stuck under my finger nails and stays there as a reminder that beauty is there in the middle of a dirty city. A reminder that working with my hands brings me joy and fills a passion I didn’t know I had.
Another stream I let fall from the pal brings another whoosh of refreshment to my hands as I breathe in the sun.
I had an entire post written. Then I deleted it because, well, it was pathetic and self depreciating and no on wants to hear that.
I found myself journal-ing about not really having the desire to seek out new things. Not having the desire to have ‘life altering conversations’. I do have them, few and far between, usually via text to a friend in Oregon or Pennsylvania or Colorado. Conversations about fear, desires, dreams: I used to have over a coffee, or a beer, or after too many beers. These are good, earth shattering conversations. Ones that are meant to change the world, change my life, or change the life of someone else.
Now most of conversations consist of topics like: beer, farm to table food, the proper form to do a lateral pull down. Running. How bad the winter sucks in Chicago. How bad the CTA sucks in Chicago. How we can’t wait for summer. Day drinking on patios. All legit conversations to have, but pretty easy and unremarkable. Though Chicago does have some really great patios to drink on…
But wait. Wait wait wait. What I can’t figure out is if I have changed or gotten lazy. Or if I don’t have the people around me to have these convos with. OR everyone around me actually has their shit so together that they don’t crave conversations about life, energy, love, nature… I do believe that I’ve changed, changed in the sense that I recognized my need to stop running away from what ever it is I run from. But that recognition shouldn’t hinder me from exploration connections. Is this what getting old is like?
[Side note, I’m in Chicago another year guys… this’ll be a record for me]
But I do think we need to go back to conversations about more than just patio drinking and money. I dream of traveling. I dream of being successful and stable. I dream of doing more than just going through the motions.
I guess that’s what life feels like at the moment. Just going through the motions.
I’ve been with this person for years, we’ve been through just about everything someone can go through. We’ve seen happy moments, tragic moments, excitement and disappointment. We’ll never part ways, that I’m sure. I think I’ve found ‘the one’. So last week I treated with a day long date.
I took myself on a date in Chicago.
It started out with a lovely morning of tea and my book. After dressing in an outfit that made me feel beautiful and colorful I took myself out for a long walk. We strolled for a few miles through my neighborhood and eventually crossed a bridge that took me into Logan Square. Window shopping along the way I enjoyed my thoughts and evaluated my feelings on living in Chicago for just over a month. While I ate lunch outside I focused on the meal and people watched as they walked by with dogs on leashes, boyfriends clutching hands and children grasping onto a mother’s hip. I was happy to be in just the company of myself, no responsibility or obligation for the day, it was my day–I took that moment to remind myself where I was and how for the first time in my life I felt like I am here.
I’m not three years ago when I was in my early 20’s, in college and basically care free. I’m not two months from now when I take a trip to Oregon or next year when I dream to be able to buy a ticket abroad. I’m not wishing I was somewhere else. I am here. Finally understanding the term that I’ve heard Baron Baptiste say many times–
“Be now here or be nowhere”
It makes sense. Life is right now–it’s not when something else happens, its in this moment appreciating what you have. I know I’m not the first to be understanding this, but I feel like it’s finally hitting home for me. I think appreciating yourself is a top priority in life–taking care of those you love and figuring out how to be in the moment is the key to a happy existence.
My day continued on with a trip to Trader Joe’s where I purchased three items for myself: a bottle of wine, chocolate and flowers. The cashier promptly noticed and said “Well, this is a fun combination.” It was then that I realized I was on a date.
After an afternoon matinée and another long walk home in the brisk fall weather the day was nearing an end. Each moment brought new light to my life here in Chicago. As I continue to live HERE I’m loving each moment for something different–I’m here, no where else and that is how I’m beginning to really be happy.