TREENA MIELKE/On The Other Side
Fleeting moments of lilacs and sunshine are here.
I notice the lilacs when I drive to work and when I drive home, every day.
Their purple loveliness hangs heavy over cracked grey sidewalks, and sometimes, borders lush green lawns. To me they are a gentle reminder of good and beautiful things that cost nothing, but are here simply as eye candy, wonderful for the eye to behold and a treasure to the work-weary soul.
The lilacs won’t last much longer, and once again, I didn’t manage to confiscate quite as many of the luscious bouquets as I wanted to.
“Surely, the ones hanging over the sidewalk don’t really belong to anyone,” the voice in my head coaxes.
But, it’s not because I fear some lilac policeperson will give me a ticket that keeps me from stopping to pick them. It’s because I always seem to be busy, too busy!
In a serious attempt to slow down the voices in my head which say, “Do this, do that, don’t smell the roses, you don’t have time for goodness sake,” I went to a meditation class with my daughter.
I was pleased when she asked me to join her.
I need to meditate, I told myself. I need to go inside and tell all those voices telling me to get up and get busy to get stuff done to go tell somebody else to do that stuff.
And, my super achiever daughter needs to do it to.
I arrived breathless, late and thinking longingly of a cigarette, to the class.
I slide into my chair, trying to be invisible and not attract a lot of attention because everyone else was already visualizing stuff that wasn’t really there and feeling all peaceful.
I close my eyes like she tells me to. Visualize a golden light around you, she says in this low voice I struggle to hear.
I try, but I simply can’t.
Instead I wonder about things, important things.
I wonder if I’d put money in the parking meter and if I’d accidentally locked my keys in my car again.
I wondered if I’d shut my cell phone off and if not, would it ring.
I wondered if that last story I’d written was absolutely, positively correct.
I wondered if my daughter would want to go for coffee later.
I open my eyes and I peek at her.
I see her peeking at me also and in that moment I am overcome with a fit of giggles.
It’s very inappropriate. I struggle to restrain myself and obligingly go inside looking for the light.
It’s no good, I can’t find it, but as I’m looking I feel my body start to relax. I slump in the chair and think longingly of my bed and sleep.
The teacher brings us all back to the present, from which I had never really left, and I pay my $10 and my daughter’s as well, because she, the super achiever that she is, apparently forgot to bring cash.
My daughter declines my offer of coffee and I move out into the night, which is soft as summer, because it is, after all, almost summer and begin the drive home.
I notice the lilacs once again and think about stopping to pick some.
But, as usual, I tell myself I am too busy and drive home.
The wild roses will be out soon. Their fragile beauty will spread itself randomly throughout the countryside, covering harsh barbed wire fences and filling roadside ditches with their shy pink color.
I love the wild roses.
And this year, I promise myself I will, for sure, take the time to smell them, and maybe even bring a few home.
I feel pleased with this promise which has absolutely nothing to do with the meditation class, and everything to do with it, as well.
Stop! Smell the roses. Be in the moment. It’s all good. I get it.
But do not, however, when you are doing that, lock your keys in your car, because that would not be good.
I get that, too.