Smells Like Flowers

This blog still faces that chronic, empty void common to blogs the world over. The pre-audience ones, the ones that sometimes drift on for years without attention until they dry up and their authors leave without a farewell.

And I could wax eloquent melodrama about this all night, but I had a little story to tell.

There’s something about this fall weather that calls to me. It’s too cool outside to go without a jacket–and you still sometimes have to shrug your shoulders while wearing one to ward off the chill–but that’s half the allure. I’ve always found there’s a sort of cozy mood that goes with wearing a nice coat.

Anyway, I answered that call tonight, coat buttoned high with headphones in my ears. I’ve been in love with the sound of Ella Fitzgerald lately, so I hit Play on my iPhone and set out.

It’s a beautiful night out. The sky is half cloudy, so the city lights light them up like they’re lights of their own. It makes it feel like there’s a dome over the city that keeps some of the residual heat in.

My walk took me down a bike path, asphalt still new enough that yellow lines lead ahead in stark contrast to the curving, black ribbon. The path took me down along one of Winnipeg’s larger streets and the sound of six lanes of traffic, even though its sparse at this time of night, was barely audible over the sound of music in my ears.

I let my feet lead me. I just wanted to walk somewhere to make the music continue. I arrived at a railroad bridge with a harsh Warning sign posted on the fence. Something about prosecuting trespassers. I didn’t read it the whole thing, but stopped to check the tracks for trains of which there were, of course, none. Thus satisfied, I made my way along the bridge and stopped in the centre to watch traffic pass by underneath.

It’s an ethereal feeling, just sitting above the traffic passing by. It makes me feel like I’m some place up high, detached, watching the world pass me by while I look on in stasis.

What wind there was eventually drove me from my seat. Walking is better than sitting when there’s enough wind to amplify the chill. I checked the tracks again and walked down their center until I came to a section of grass and a few trees between a wooden fence and the traffic below. The fence held back residential houses, perhaps giving them some illusion of not being close to a freeway, but I toed the grass between them, happy to live in both worlds at once. The grass was immaculate, springing up behind me when I stepped forward, pressing down enough under each foot that I was surprised I didn’t leave footprints behind me.

I found a spot between a few scrawny trees and lay down, spread eagle, to watch the clouds above. They have an infinite number of shapes if you stop to watch them. You just have to wait long enough that they stop being the wallpaper of the sky and become great ships of the air, behemoths of their own right. Titanics made of mist.

The wind didn’t reach me there, so I stayed, drinking in the music and grinning at the clouds as if they were performing just for me.

In moments like that, maybe that’s exactly what they do. The magic in this world hides deep as long as you’re not looking, but it springs willingly to the surface for anyone who cares to stop, to lie in the grass, to walk along oily-scented rails seeded with rocks that look like lumps of coal.

Life gets just a little bit longer and a little bit better if you stop to watch. The sky is a harbour for the greatest fleet of ships you’ll ever lay eyes on. The grass, though brittle or dead at times, smells and feels like life itself. Even the things We make scream to be heard, seen and smelled far beyond a passing scurry.

Life’s greatest fulfillment is never found in the great things we think we do, but in the great things that are. The biggest movements happen when we stop to watch.

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