early morning people

The city can seem cold and unfeeling. Thus, the temptation arises to shoehorn the masses into roles limited to acrimony or apathy, simply based on random anecdotal experiences.

Early morning is the best time to mitigate this wrong perception. Early morning people are different. They spontaneously greet each other and show consideration. Kind words are exchanged and eyes, for once, are not averted.

After 9 AM there begins a slow shift for the worse. The late risers trickle to the streets, leaking poison into the day’s veins. By noon, one might as well return to bed and wait for the next morning in order to continue bending this perception back into the right shape.

the other day

The other day was sitting on a rock outcropping with AR, gazing down on a river and across at leafless beech trees and listening to long lonely trains rolling to the city, a late osprey charging after them as if to hitch a ride, its cry wilder than anything we have to offer. The other day was also another acceptance and feeding chickadees from my hand. Even in this overly manufactured living space nature offers us redemption from our countless sins against it. I am grateful.


I used to watch through my window as the addicts gathered in the anonymous dusk outside the weekly NA meeting. It took me a long time to figure out what was going on. Downtown was always dead at night. It was mostly dead during the day, too, but at night it was a ghost town. Suddenly these hordes of people started showing up late on a particular night each week at what looked like just another vacant storefront on the next street over. One day I walked down there to see what I could see. Turns out there was a logo on the window of the place (of course it didn’t say Narcotics Anonymous). I looked it up, though, and that’s what it was. I became fascinated by watching these strangers mingle on the sidewalk under the sodium street lamps, waiting to get inside to work on their addictions together. From inside my concrete bunker, I quietly cheered them. They shared the camaraderie of addiction, a bond like no other, and I hoped they would make it.


Yesterday, I decided to salvage what I could of the day and left the house, observing curiously as the late afternoon blossomed unexpectedly before me.  As fate would have it, during its period of disuse, the chain on my other bike (meaning not my commuter bike) had achieved a patina of rust and gunk that prevented it from making a successful circuit around the drive-train.  So I crouched next to the back door, generously oiling the links and massaging them back into working order, until one of my neighbors arrived home next door.  I hailed her, and we spoke pleasantly at length.  When she went inside, my neighbor from the port side hailed me and we engaged in a discussion of a less sprawling, though just as neighborly, nature than the previous one.  It is good to be friendly with the neighbors, I thought to myself, and I am lucky to have such affable and considerate ones!  With that, I was off on my bike across town to my old birding and exploring haunt where I spent a couple of happy hours tromping through the woods, restoring the waning energy levels of my soul and communing with the natural world.  As the sky darkened, then, and I wound my way reluctantly forth from the woods, the sweet ethereal song of the Hermit Thrushes rose surprisingly from the forest floor and carried through the trees, as if to ease me ever so gently back toward the main road, and harsh traffic, to that which I always must return.

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