Quite early this morning, before the city awakens to its busyness, I begin wandering about outside and start touching things. I am compelled by a strange urge to explore beyond static labels and each object I touch comes alive, communicating all the avenues and labors through which it came to be.
I trace the edges of our camping trailer and it tells the story of a factory worker taking pride in his part of the construction process. Maybe he is the one who fit the windows and doors. The truck that hauls the camper is solid, cold, and smells a bit of gasoline. It has a diet of long dead fossils, now accessed through a drilling rig that provides a good job supporting a family somewhere in Wyoming.
A large wooden planter that plays host to a blueberry bush tells of a time when it was a cedar tree, part of a canopy shading a lush forest understory of infinite variety. Every other plant in the garden shares a tale of seed to fruition. The chair in which I now sit was pressed out of some kind of recycled plastic—perhaps a bunch of water bottles emptied on trips to the beach and properly deposited in appropriate bins.
Everything I contact has a unique place in the grand scheme of things while also expressing interconnection. Nature has a hand in everything and someone’s labor moves it forward until arriving to be touched in this moment by a self-reflective human. It is amazing how simple touch can project the mind into a vast display of infinite possibility.
Now my ears are doing the touching. A breeze picks up and swirls around bamboo wind chimes, creating random rhythmic tones of a marimba. A scrub jay lands in the bird bath and splashes away half the contents to clean and preen dusty wings. In the far distance, children are being picked up from school by a line-up of parents in their idling vehicles—a soft rumble of internal combustion songs mingle with shouts and giggles.
The senses carry us into a world beyond limitation when we apply a bit of mindfulness. I notice my ‘self’ gets carried away—to a realm where boundaries no longer apply. Judgments are abandoned in favor of awareness. I am softened a bit. Meditation is spontaneously accomplished.