Today I enjoyed unwinding the hose reel, as if I was rapelling down the hill. Beautiful fall day, the bitter smell of cut grass filling the air. I met Gail, the male gardener, mowing the grass on the church lawn. He said my work demonstrated perseverance. At the corner of 14th, a young dad was out walking, coffee mug in hand, with his toddler whose round blue eyes drilled into my skull as only a child that age knows how to do. He was still staring at me and the blue knit line, when I turned to go back up the hill. Back at the bench, I chatted with Chuck the mailman. He loves his route, a combination of houses and college apartments, walking and driving. He’s been doing it for over 20 years. He told me his greatest fear is that with the budget cuts, the government will install metal mail lockers, one to each block, and he won’t get to wander about the neighborhood on foot any more. I hope this doesn’t happen–we need as many face-to-face interactions as possible in the U.S. My sister just returned from Egypt where one can expect to have personal relationships with the spice merchant and the vegetable salesperson. And they are all just a couple minutes walk away so you don’t have to ever worry about running out of an ingredient…
My soul is feeling several sizes too big for my body, a kind of psychic growing pains, telling me that there is some important inner work that I need to do…What that is, I’m not sure yet. I’m being emptied out which I hope is “clearing me out for some new delight” as Rumi puts it in this poem, “The Guest House:”
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.