Semi-Homeless, or, Life in the Neighborhood, pt. 1.5

Continued from 3.9.10.

Being without the internet (I am not lame if I call it the internettle) and without most other conveniences was probably the most helpful push into nirvana, but sunset walks were how I maintained my nirvana during my half-homeless, hot-hot-hot summer.

Cheesy, sure, but hang on.

I walk the way I drive. That is, I don’t care how many hours ahead of schedule I am, I just want to get anywhere fast. In crowds, I walk around the slow people (everyone) the way teenagers drive around minivans. I was made fun of in high school for not paying attention to anybody as I gazelled my way to the next class.

I don’t do yoga or pilates or whatever. I mostly just run. Sometimes I jump rope. Whatever I’m doing, it’s always a little bit frantic, always a little too fast to worry about form.

I get why people like the whole sun rising/sun setting thing. It’s so still. Even rush hour gets quiet when the sky settles into a certain smoky-orange-purple. The cars slow down, my mind slows down, my feet slow down.

I spent almost every evening that summer making unhurried loops around my absentee host’s neighborhood. It was an old marketplace-like community, made charming with overgrown palm branches and crumbling brick walls that managed to look like ancient palace ruins.

About a thousand simple, sensible people lived there. They all came home about the same time, in one accidental mass. They kissed their children and turned on their radios and their ovens. Songs from half a dozen cultures in half a dozen languages met in the air. They sounded a lot like jazz when they mixed together – if jazz sang Spanish. Then their meals sort of drifted out into the open; I couldn’t name half the flavors, but they all smelled like home, really.

I was by myself at the time, and every evening I followed the split sidewalks until dinner was over. No massage, nap or meditation has ever put my mind so much at rest. If I can choose my heaven, I want it to be those evening sunset walks, again and again forever.

*Tomorrow is my first Internet-free Thursday. Before this post, I was looking forward to books and bedtime; now I only want the walk.

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5 responses to “Semi-Homeless, or, Life in the Neighborhood, pt. 1.5

  1. Neighborhood-walking nirvana. Sounds good. Yesterday, on the plane down to Florida, I actually cried because it felt like nirvana. Not because of going on a trip or anything…but because awareness was so much at the forefront. Awareness moved so spaciously. I suspect your neighborhood-walking may have been the same. I like the way you write and share.

    • Thanks. “Nirvana” can come from anywhere, I guess. If flight attendants feel the way you do about being on a plane, they must have the greatest job in the world.

  2. Although I took it to an excessive/obsessive level (my apparent MO), walking is my savior and the closest thing I’ve found to nirvana (yoga mat, be damned).

    I also do my best thinking when walking, although I forget most of my brilliance by the time I make it back to writing it down–whatever. That’s my time to meditate on the sound of my footsteps, observe my surroundings and just…be. I want spring.

  3. Try carrying a notebook and pen in your back pocket next time you go.

    What’s MO?

  4. Modus operandi–Latin phrase, approximately translated as “mode of operation.” In other words, habits or manner of working. My default, so to speak.

    Anyway, tried the notebook thing, but then I didn’t get much walking done 😉

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