Sunday, May 31, 2015

Frozen Leisure

It was a perfect Sunday morning. My usual start-the-day routine of zazen/ oatmeal/ Solitaire and then a private worship service in the church of jazz, listening to Kenny Barron and Dave Holland duets and then playing the same pieces myself. Out the door mid-morning to stroll through my still charming neighborhood to shop at the Farmer’s Market. Japanese eggplant and early girl tomatoes are now in season and the stalls abound with plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots, strawberries, those colorful sweet announcements that summer is a comin’ in. The buzz of commerce amidst the musician-du-jour singing with his baritone ukulele, the vendors chatting with the customers like they rarely do in Costco.

The week’s produce on my back, down I go into Golden Gate Park, happily passing by my bank, the local bookstore, ye ole video store, the caf├ęs and restaurants, happy to see them and happy that I will pass them all by— no need for money, coffee, books, movies. It’s Sunday and just to be alive and healthy and walking on God’s green earth is enough.

Into the park and to the Big Rec field, various informal soccer games with coats marking goalposts and Frisbee tossing and then a more formal uniformed baseball game. I sit on the bleachers and remember my childhood, when I also lived a half-block away from a park and would often sit to watch the baseball games there. That delightful nothing-in-particular-to-do leisure watching balls and bats and young men running around bases.

Like I said. A perfect Sunday morning away from e-mails and report cards and that giant
to-do list that motors my busy life. Perfect in every way except one.

It was freakin’ freezing out there!!! San Francisco is in it’s 7,000th day of  waking up to fog (well, it feels like that), in some weird “August in May” mode. We expect summer fog in the…well, summer! May can be windy, but never can I remember an entire month of fog just about every single day.

When I was describing the above, I imagine the reader imagining a sunny California day, everyone relaxed and in that mode where all is right with the world, savoring some sun together, the body relaxed and the spirits mellowed as warm weather tends to do. But instead the farmers were huddled and shivering, the shoppers brisk trying to get their stuff and scoot home to a roaring fire or heater. I lasted two minutes at the baseball game.

Now I strive to be a go-with-the-flow kind of guy, that one that happily makes lemonade from lemons and finds the beauty in each thing that comes my way. But this is testing my saint-like patience. I know the world doesn’t owe us a Hollywood life with perfect scenery, a soothing soundtrack and a happy ending, but hey, it’s almost June and by my calendar, we’re due something that feels at least a little bit like the approaching summer. I know, I know, we had it back in February when people in Maine were dreaming of California, but still.

And so I turn to a lunch of strawberries and plums hunched over in my winter jacket.

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