This morning is the first firing of spring’s azaleas. It’s the first morning they’ve all opened their kimonos, exposed pistil and stamen. “Come hither,” they call to the yellow and black darts, the excited bumble bees. Even nature’s exhibitionists are constrained by certain laws, though, the azaleas kept within their flowerbed prisons, weed killed flowerbeds where things are mostly planned. One bed is covered with pea-pebbles, another with glass beads, another with succulent ground cover. Each is ordered.
The roads cut our county into towns, towns into school districts, school districts into neighborhoods, neighborhoods into lots. On some lots, the dandelion tufts fluff up and sway like albino afros. Their better halves, the flowering dandelions, cower beneath their male counterparts. The dandelion heads respect the wind, lift and loose where led, that is, if they are blown before being constrained by the lawnmower or a hard dose of Rroundup.
This morning I saw Cardinal in my neighbor’s tree. He was like one of those Azalea, a cherry red Corvette of a bird. He and Robin mocked each other, Robin taking breaks to look for worms under the dandelion skirt. Robin was no respecter of privacy, or of nut-crunching either. He told Cardinal so, whistled a harsh, “buzz off.” There are worms to catch this early in the morning, he said.
Cardinal relocated on the breeze.
On the way to work, I pulled behind a man driving a Toyota 4Runner. Winn Collier once told me he saw me as a 4Runner kind of guy. I took that to mean that he saw me as more of a kayaker than as a visionary, a thought-leader, someone full of “trending energy.” (What is “trending energy,” anyway?) I have had a soft spot in my heart for 4Runners ever since.
This particular vehicle wore a magnetic decal of Bob Marley, left foot rising in a reggae stomp. It is for freedom that Bob dances, I reckoned, and the machine wore him as an alternate metaphor, a small picket-sign against sitting in a parking lot from 8:30 to 6:00. The 4Runner pulled into the parking lot on the left. It was an analytics office, a place where men constrain themselves to numbers, formulas, and computer-generated models. The 4Runner coughed, sputtered from its black lung as it entered the parking lot.
The smell of spent exhaust came through my air conditioner vents. “Time for an oil change,” I thought.
The church office was filling with cars this morning. The staff pulled past the twin pink tulip trees, past the lone redbud. They didn’t stop, curtsy, or tip hats to the better parts of God’s beauty. Instead, they plowed on into the fields. The fields, after all, are white with harvest.
The wind is no respecter of our counties, towns, school districts, neighborhoods, or lots. Unconstrained, it waits only for us to catch it.
If only we would.
*Photo by Vvillamon, Creative Commons, via Flickr.Want to receive my updates in your inbox? Click here. Also, follow along on Twitter and Facebook.