My Walden

Company and drinks. Two things I miss about city life. And, that: a missed item on my grocery list was just right across the street; I had immaculately clean legs without bruises or bites; I could forget to lock my flat and not worry; or keep my windows open without fear of alien looking creatures in my room. Now I suddenly have to be skillful at assembling rattraps and memorizing the lifecycles of mosquitoes.

And yet.

I wouldn’t trade unblemished legs and would yield to having a rat as a house guest, for: the indulgence of quiet; the sapphire sky and the kingfisher; the morning bird call; spent minutes on a bike picking flowers, or digging dirt and watching shoots grow; and my daughters’ firsts, first fish, first bike, and oh, the ampleness of time and space. I’m just beginning to know where certain birds live, how they call, and which ones frequent my window every morning. And then, there was an owl outside my house. Now I know why we think them wise. They look enlightened, like grandmothers and advice. There are wild pigeons and ducks on the road. I’ve been startled daily, by a freaky bug I’ve never seen, a gargantuan spider, or two birds in rapid flight.
Everything moves here. I’ve gaped at a little mouse nibbling the vines on my hedge. I’ve seen leaves jump down from trees. I’ve been stopped on my tracks, by a family of golden birds I yet have to know their names. Just yesterday, there was a black and white-spotted butterfly unhurriedly opening and closing its wings as if in a sort of dance. I can tell time now by the sun’s shadows. Or smell the rain a mile away. You should see our perfect canopy of stars at night. And we’ve been feasting on bananas from the front yard, have pickled our first papaya, and I can finally learn to make chili paste and jam from the garden.

Everything’s richer and fuller here. Colors are not muted, you can almost breath the trees, fancy that you begin to hear nature’s secrets, and especially experience time. As though days stretch for you, granting you more spaces to fill. No longer a luxury, the time is there. And suddenly, everything has a story to tell. And suddenly, you can catch the words.

Well, I do miss the city. Company and drinks, most of all. But I find that there are things here I could no longer live without. And so I should stop pinning for a night out in the city. Start learning rattraps instead. Or memorize the lifecycles of mosquitoes.

September 19, 2012

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden

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