In Which A Tiny Redemption Rescues My Day

I drove home from the Bay area with the sense of dejection that always dogs my heels as I head east from the ocean.  I had not glimpsed her in my two days, though I had hovered near her voice.  Rain hung over the city.  The clouds did not break until the morning of my exit.  But my time had run out.  I averted my eyes from the rise of blue above me, and headed for the Delta.

That evening, over a glass of wine with a friend, I recounted the news, both  the good and the dreary, from my two days of doctor visits.  Then she spoke of her winter travels.  I longed to hover in the wind on her heels as she moves along the coast.  I’d wrap my arms around myself and lean against the bumper of her trailer.  I’d press my cheek against the cold glass and let myself drift lulled by the endless sound of her wheels on the road.  Freedom would become my mantra; cares would fall from my shoulders.

This morning my neighbors invited me to a St. Patrick’s Day lunch.  I threw together a pot of herbed potatoes and pulled my one green sweater over my head.  As I stood in our community room, a bunch of little dogs scampered around on the tile floor in their festive bandanas.  We ate cilantro rice, and cheese-covered chips, and delicate sprinkles of micro-greens.  I never tasted such splendor.

Later I drove to Lodi for groceries.  One clerk tried to sell me yams when I wanted purple potatoes.  I tilted my head and tried to discern whether she didn’t know the difference or thought she could fool me.  One of her cohorts came to my rescue, guiding me around the produce section until we determined that they didn’t have what I sought.  His good-natured spirit lifted mine.  His clumsy colleagues forgotten, I headed for home with bags of good food, a few liters of Icelandic water, and high hopes for a cup of tea on my porch in the afternoon air.

But traffic slowed to a crawl behind an accident.   I watched as flashing red lights swiftly maneuvered around us to the damaged vehicles.  One car door hung open.  I closed my eyes, clung to the steering wheel, and whispered a prayer for the unknown fate of the humans within the bent metal.  My mood sank.

The sound of the radio drew my attention.  A young voice, telling of her experience performing with a singer whose background her parents had to explain.  I lifted my phone from its cradle and scrolled through the internet until I found the twenty-minute piece.  Then, stuck behind a long row of waiting vehicles just outside of Lodi, the magic of one man’s music into which he drew a small group of high school students carried me away.  By the time the first responders began to let us through, the day that had nearly been ruined glittered with rapturous redemption.

It’s the seventeenth day of the one-hundred and eleventh month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.


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