Tuesday, March 13, 2012
When I donned my shorts and tennis shoes tonight, I had all intentions of going to the gym for my evening workout. But then I remembered my morning study. I've been reading lately about the rhythm of the day ... and trying to get into its cycle. This morning I learned about the portion of the day that is called Vespers. It is the celebration at sunset, when darkness begins to descend and lamps and candles are lit. It is the hour of peace of heart, of serenity. It's a magical time when the sky begins to turn colors of fire and trees become silhouettes. When sounds of lawn mowers and power blowers give way to crickets and frogs. It is a time when, in some tranquil way, we gather in all the contradictions of the day and find healing.
And so rather than getting in the car, I walked down my driveway and began my "exercise" around the block. This particular night was not going to be about how many minutes I had left on the treadmill or elliptical but rather an exercise in experiencing this particular moment of the day ... while getting my heart rate up, of course.
And so instead of hurrying past the rock garden with the rushing water and vibrate orange goldfish dashing about underneath, I slowed down and invited myself into a neighbor's driveway and experienced a moment of peace and tranquility that only a running pool can bring. Rather than just return the wave of the little girl sitting on the steps with her mother, I engaged in some repartee. And before the laps were done, I had felt the cool of the evening on my wet skin, stopped to smell the tea olive, examined the individual blooms on a red bud, and even listened to the buzz of a bee.
But the most stunning encounter of all happened on my first complete lap of the block. It was the second time meeting the woman, having only casually spoken on our first pass. But this time as we met, she said, "Aren't you my neighbor?" to which I responded, "I could be. Where do you live?" And to both of our shame, we have shared a portion of a backyard fence for 13 years. 13 YEARS! She stuck out her hand and said, "Hi, my name is Karen."
With a heart awash with emotion, I returned home, lit some candles and recalled the very last sentence I wrote in my journal this morning: "We move closer together when it gets dark. The hour of Vespers is a call to neighborliness."
Just an ordinary moment...