– Little bursts

During one sustained yoga pose (downward dog), I looked at my hands, fingers splayed on the mat. Wow, I thought. Look at you. I acknowledged them for 45 years of work. No appliance could do what they’ve done and still be so capable.

Later, lying on my back, with my legs straight and feet in the air, I looked at my bare knees and calves, and I liked them. Marvels.

My regular habit, after Wednesday yoga, is to go to the Clover Food Truck on Carleton Street and get a soy BLT, my discovery of the spring. At $5, it’s a perfect food.

Today I sat on a bench next to the parking lot, half in the sun and half out, and ate it. On the bench perpendicular to mine, a young woman and man talked about happiness, and all the pressures in the way of it. She said to him: “There are too many choices. And having to choose work you love, or a person you love, is overwhelming. I read that people are less happy when they know there is other work, or someone else out there.” He said to her: “I said to my therapist that, among all my options, the least disagreeable to me is dentistry.”

One pigeon walked on the cement pavers near my feet. Of course, pigeons do not fear us. It came closer and seemed to stand there, turning and waiting. I looked at its three-clawed feet and stick legs. Do you know they’re pink? A dark rose. The feathers are less gray than a dusky purple, with shimmers of green around the neck.

In Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, on the occasion of her son’s wedding Olive thinks about what she knows of loneliness and ruminates, too, on its antidote:

Olive’s private view is that life depends on what she thinks of as “big bursts” and “little bursts.” Big bursts are things like marriage or children, intimacies that keep you afloat, but these big bursts hold dangerous, unseen currents. Which is why you need the little bursts as well: a friendly clerk at Bradlee’s, let’s say, or the waitress at Dunkin’ Donuts who knows how you like your coffee.

Or a sandwich from a truck.

On the way home, I stopped the car for a few seconds where Ames Street joins Memorial Drive. A few pedestrians passed in front of me, which made me turn my head to follow them. I saw a woman holding a toddler, still awake but slumped in her arms, the child’s head lolling on the mother’s shoulder. I remembered the slack weight of a baby against my chest: that closeness, that power. The child held out her own hand and looked at it, turning it palm down, then palm up. She closed her fingers into a little fist and looked at that, too. There was no haste in her movements. She could stare at that hand and turn it over and over, forever.

2 thoughts on “– Little bursts

  1. Pingback: - Validation « Leaf – Stitch – Word

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