Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 7:40 a.m.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
7:40 a.m.
Business Park on UCI Campus near California & Academy Way

10 Minutes in Nature

Over the past few weeks I’ve discovered that a quick walk through the corporate parking lot resets my brain when I need to switch from one project to another. At 7:40 a.m. today, I'd already been at work for 90 minutes, finished writing a three-page document and wasn’t quite alert enough to move on to the next thing.

I stepped into the 55 degree morning air so cloudy and thick that not a single strand of sunlight penetrated the fog. My head was filled with work concerns, chewing around and around until I spotted him—our resident road runner. My thoughts of work vanished and my heart was filled with the delight of encountering an actual wild creature. I was surprised to see him sitting on top of a hedge. Given that he's a road runner, I would have never thought of him as given to flight. Yet there he was, peering intently into the leaves, searching for that one delicious opportunity.

I gave him a wide berth because I wanted to observe his wildness for as many seconds as possible before returning to my corporate cage. I loved his Mohawk and long floppy tail. I know that lizards sleep in late so I wondered what he could be hunting for breakfast. But, at last, I rounded the corner and lost sight of him.

And yet…

I was rewarded with the sight of a small rabbit, hunched against the chill air, quietly cropping at the grass. Again, my heart thrilled at the sight of a wild thing. I turned my front-facing predator eyes away and swung a wide circle around him knowing that I was the intruder on his morning meal. How much I wanted to put just one fingertip on its fur to know if its pelt is as soft as I imagine. How much I regret the divide of fear that separates us.

I turned the final corner and climbed the stairs to my office, reluctant at leaving the wild things but with renewed energy to dig into my project. Still, before I return to my corporate cage, I wrote these few lines so I can remember that, even for just a few moments today, I walked where the wild things are.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

April 17, 2010 2:20 p.m.

April 17, 2010 2:20 p.m.
James Dilley Preserve – Laguna Beach

Working our way to the top

parking lot

canyon trail

200 years of oak

bird songs

insect hum


poison oak

monkey faced flowers

a heart-shaped cactus warning of dangerous love

the further we go, the more challenges appear

We stop short of the summit. We’re stopped by the persistence of time and the steepness of the road ahead. It’s not an impossible path; we’re just out of time. But, it’s okay—this path not taken because we get the chance to retrace our steps, do over, and see what we missed before.

For a scant few hours we are a chain on a trail, sharing words, thoughts, ideas and impressions in an eternal landscape that stretches forwards and backwards in time. Although we leave no trace on the trail, we are humans sharing the same experience, temporarily united. Together we’ll carry the unique impressions of this day always, having chosen to spend and not waste the afternoon of this day.

Even though we left no trace on the trail, we’ll leave a fingerprint on each other’s lives. And from the bottom to the top, we are forever changed.