“Are you knitting the neighborhood together or what?” a walker asked me. After I explained that I’m knitting a line to the sea, she said, “It would make a good sweater. (pause) That’s a nice color, it would make a great baby blanket!”
I watched as car drove over the knit line before saying dubiously, “It might be a bit dirty…” “You can always wash it,” she called back over her shoulder…
I was daydreaming about Christian Zen, when I suddenly slipped on some dog shit on the sidewalk. It seemed appropriate, because there is nothing like nearly falling on one’s bum to bring one back to the present moment.
Very handsome construction workers drove by in a white truck and asked me what I was doing and if I wanted some coffee to warm me up. I had just climbed the hill, and was overheated so I declined their kind offer.
My Buddhist friend R. also stopped by and sat on my right on the bench. She said that she took her first “dark walk” yesterday. “I’m not going to stop walking just because it’s getting dark sooner now.” She said that what she paid attention to in the dark were the fragrances–of apples and wood smoke wafting on the night air. R. is one of my favorite people, even though this is only the second time we have spoken because she is usually too busy walking to stop. She was getting a meal ready for her grandkids today which included carved orange bell peppers like jack-o-lanterns. R. is looking forward to the trick or treaters tonight. It’s her first year ever since she’s been able to have them. She recently moved here, after her husband passed away, from a house on 2 acres with a very long driveway that no kid would dream of walking up in the dark.
M. the jazz musician also came and sat on the left side of the bench. He invited me to a jazz concert he’s playing downtown. Even though he’s practiced the songs a hundred times, he’s nervous that he’ll suddenly blank out. “That’s the challenge of a live performance,” I told him. In the background, a loud leaf blower was blasting leaves off the sidewalk near E.’s house. M. said that he’s never seen so many garden trucks as there are in this neighborhood. He and his nextdoor neighbor are the only people he knows who mow their own lawns. M. and I both long for the quiet, environmentally-friendly rake…If only there was a set time say from 9 – 10 am when all the leaf blowers went off at the same time, and you weren’t allowed to use one any other time! E. came by in his orange electric car with Leif and Buster who barked very ferociously out the back window at M. and me.
When I completed my hour of knitting, it took another 20 minutes to wind the line up the 4.5 blocks back to the bench. On a whim, I decided to go pick up art supplies downtown, and I’m very glad I did! I found myself suddenly in a sea of children as pirate, gorilla, witch, devil, ninja and cyborg. But the adult costumes at Dakota Art Store were my favorite! Frida Kahlo rang up my purchase, while John Lennon helped me find a white paint pen. The store manager had sprouted horns, very real-looking ones I might add! And a man dressed like a dog superhero came in. I asked him, “Are you Under Dog?” He said, “Today, I’m Under Dog, but tomorrow, I might be Top Dog!” Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays because it’s the everyman’s chance to be an artist, to transform reality using their imagination. And it’s a sign of hope that we, vulnerable creatures that we are, can still make fun of fear!