It's almost six p.m. on a Sunday, a beautiful day, slight breeze, clear sky, warm for the Bay Area. The dog is crashed out at my feet, the hum of sportcasters from the tv in the next room is a mere drone. The house is cool and mostly quiet. Cars are coming past my house at the same rate as when i was growing up in a small town, when you could look out and see who is driving by and then know something about their day.
We are taking a walk soon, in the hills of Oakland where the trails will be dry and dusty and the poppies will reach out lazy from the cliffside. Walkers, runners, bikers will greet each other; dogs will run with Brewster and then move on. I will pull anthony's fingers toward me and we will not rush; we will just know that the weekend is going to end and this moment will be chewed up and forgotten about when phones ring and appointments are kept.
One of the first poems I wrote as a serious poet was about Sunday night and how, when I lived alone, it had a particular loneliness, not an unwelcomed one. That Sunday at night, when everyone was folded into the end of it all, had a poignancy. The quiet crept in and the fear out. Writing on Sunday was legacy, the words drew a picture of space and time, and myself a tiny figure awash in my own history. I let Sundays drift me. Wherever thoughts took--dark and light, serious and ridiculous.
Today's Sunday started with a walk by the water where the wind kicked a chill on us and we stood on hilltops and soaked up the sun. We sat at a cafe outdoors with dogs running between tables and the fog burning off San Francisco across the Bay. The view was all around and we shifted our positions when we could to receive it. Opening opening.
While I prepare for another walk, I think this is my church, my Sunday ritual. Something has always been in place on Sundays. A perfect walk, a bike ride on skyline roads, writing dates with friends in downtown cafes, a brunch on Amsterdam Avenue, New York Times Crossword. In each of my life scenarios a routine organically developed, sometimes based on the needed free time, or with whom i was living, or from having a dog, or where I lived or how i loved something specific like biking and hiking and needing the perfect time block to enjoy.
In any case, all of these rituals have served similar purposes as going to Mass did in my early years when Sunday morning was non-elective. I meditate, I feel inspired, I get closer to powers and nature, I end up inward. I am not praising any God (or dog), not dressing in anything to impress, or moving to anyone's design but my own. On Sundays my family and I have time to review, to plan, to weave a conversation that is silly or sincere. On the porch, by the Lake, through the streets of the Farmers Market; in the hills.
The redwoods in Oakland have cathedral beams, the walks into the fog by the Bay, a similarity to a heaven-themed tableau. The folks I share Sundays with are the closest to me and the day always ends quiet and close to private. Our communion is coffee or take out sushi. Selected to make Sunday easy, so the rest of the week won't be so hard.
This is a gift, these quiet days, particularized by a organic program that has been set over time. At first they feel slightly indulgent--taking time for just hanging out, buying food instead of cooking it. As we repeat it, the necessity sets in, the anticipation heightens. We cannot wait for Sunday when we are together and there is nothing much to do.
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