Now that school is out, my morning walk to work is so much less colorful: no hip mamas pushing state-of-the-art strollers down the sidewalk, no dads with a baby in the snuggly and a first-grader by the hand. I don't have to look for cars because there aren't any. The urban streets are quiet, subdued, a little asleep at 9am, and this morning, for just a moment, I felt as if I was back on the rural roads of Carrowholly in Ireland, with the occasional farmhouse and a plethora of sheep, it was that quiet. A marvelous moment, really, being that I am indeed walking through an urban neighborhood, that, just last week at this time, was buzzing with the beginning-of-the-day hubbub. Gone are the buses, the backpacks, the ringing of the bell, the tangle of cars on the narrow streets surrounding the school.
All a little lonely, and I was a little wistful, thinking that if I looked just a little farther down the road or leaned just a bit over a fence, I'd see the aquamarine waters of Clew Bay, with a stiff breeze ruffling-up my hair, and that earthy pasture scent pervading everything. A pub within ten minutes, a witty conversation to be had over a Bulmer's cider.
But not to be had.
Life careens us ever-forward, sometimes so quickly that we are left tripping over our own feet and a little out of breath. When we take the time to slow it all down just a little bit, there we are, in two places at once, one real, one wrenched up from a bittersweet memory.
I held those two spaces open, in my consciousness, for maybe six, or seven steps. Then it was back to the concrete universe that is a city, with nary a sheep to be smelled.