94 degrees today in NC and the first day of fall. Can you hear me pounding my head on the dashboard of my van, as I wait in the drive through line at Starbucks waiting, waiting, WAITING to get to the window, with van windows open? We are fully loaded with artwork, show tent, walls, chairs, bags, tent weights, computers, chilly weather clothes (and WHEN WOULD THEY BE NEEDED, I scream in my head), couple of totes of misc. show gear. It’s 9:45 am and THIS LINE IS NOTNOTNOT MOVING – the man with the cool, golden, smooth skin smiles at me from the driver’s seat which is in the #%^)0**^-!* SHADE and says (something like) “Patience, Whitney”, or was it why are you so irritable honey, or, no, I think it was more like what’s the matter? Too warm? TOO WARM??? It’s been in the &$%#@@@** 90s for three $%@*#$^$ months – I can’t STAND this for one moRE DAY (read with escalating volume) – and yes, of course I GET (and that guy I just mentioned pointed OUT to me) that such escalation simply causes my body temperature to rise another several degrees which, now that we are three hours down the road and the air con is ON, segues into my thoughts about the zen-ness of being in the Now.
I read the occasional personal growth book. I have friends who meditate. I breath in and out several times a day. I know what a moment is and that I am supposed to be in it. Riding along through the rounded green and gold and russet mountains of Virginia, just the hum of the road and lightly cracking sound of that guy (mentioned above) opening sunflower seeds (little rustlings of the cellophane bag as he reaches in for a few more), van gearing down as we start another incline, swishing sounds as cars pass us slower traffic keeping right – riding along in this way, it is simple to be in the moment, attuned to the slightest variation in timbre or temp….change in temp? Change in temp? Why are you turning the air OFF? Climbing, he answers, between seeds. I look up. I see cerulean sky filled with cumulus pillows in shades of white tinged with varying degrees of palest blue echoing into the vastness of VA skies. Quickly we have ascended, are skimming the ridge and turn the air on again. My brief relapse over. VA. WV. I gaze out as the cumulus sky becomes forest mounds. The radio tunes in again. Amazing Grace. I kid you not. We must hear Amazing Grace at least six times each way whenever we make this trip from NC to The North (draw a line anywhere above Washington, DC to central IN). A bit of Alizarine showing. Dark Cadmium Yellow. Heavy blood red-brown Sumac heads. (Are they poinsonous? Some interior voice raises the red flag of warning whenever I see Sumac. I don’t think I would hear the red flag if I were’nt in the moment.)
But what I really wanted to discuss is this thing with the Now. The whole thing of Being in the Now. It’s not that I can’t see the value of this Way of Being – my friend Leah seems to float in the Moment most of the time. Pretty unflappable, not given to fits of anxiety or rage. Now, I’m not saying that she doesn’t experience these, just that it appears to me that she is able to dilute them, to extinguish them, probably during the act of mediation, which, to my amazement, she does daily. I’m just saying that for those of us who are not so far along the road to that more highly evolved state, there should be more discussion of the value of understanding that sometimes the value of being in the Now is knowing that if you stay in the Now you will explode, possible doing bodily harm to oneself or others, and that the more prudent, some might even say more evolved, choice, while still being IN the Now and making choices from that place, would be to rapidly, expeditiously, and without passing Go, EXIT the Now NOW. And, blissful in the lower regions, deny that particular Now of 90 something degrees for three long running months, buy a ticket to good movie in a large and very cold Cineplex, sit in the dark and be in a different Now. Just till Fall really shows up.