gatineau morning.

gatineau morning.
photo by douglas mcarthur.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

stars that shine together.

the early morning walk i took on my last day in florida included a coffee and muffin at starbucks. that's noteworthy only because i very rarely eat muffins. i stay away from gluten, but there had to be something to set the week apart from the norm, something that called out: 'i'm on vacation.' sure, having no appointments, basking in the hot sun, swimming in the ocean, wearing shorts again, eating fresh fruit, are all obvious signs of a vacation. but, that muffin was really special.

since the family wedding ended, which was the questionable reason for my being there, i shifted to a cheaper hotel for the last few nights. it was a singularly strange place with decor in the lobby that resembled a theme park, like a haunted ride through underground caves. the rooms had very tired-looking 70s decor. it was clean enough, it was comfortable and, most importantly, the people were very nice.

it was a very long walk to the beach, which i did three times. the beaches and boardwalk were filled to overflowing with quebecois. at noon every day four older quebec guys, distended bellies, florid faces, would go up on stage and play country songs in french... and they were really really good. at the same time, a crowd of folks would line-dance. i loved it, even went to watch and listen the morning of my departure.

the flight back was on the much maligned 'air canada' and it was great: more leg-room, newer plane and friendlier attendants than the west-jet flight i took down. also, happily, there were no delays, inconveniences and my seat even reclined. as well, i was seated beside a personable young carlton university student who, when it came out that i taught meditation, did not seem to regret asking, his eyes did not glaze over, didn't look around to see what seats were empty, didn't even turn away. he did, however, mention that his mind would never allow him to meditate. i chuckled, told him that i get that a lot and that it's a common misconception.

in the middle of the night, approaching ottawa by air offers up a magnificent light-show, a milky-way of brilliant incandescence, configurations of intense luminescence. my neighbor touched my arm, brought my attention back from the window and asked if i had any suggestion to help him feel less scattered. yes, i said: "when you feel like your mind is out of control, anywhere at any time, the absolute simplest and yet most effective way is to tune in to your breath." it's not a breathing exercise, i added, just an act of observing the breath as it is, on its own.

we talked a bit more and i wrote '' on the back of my used ticket stub. i suggested he might find the article entitled 'i'm not a teacher, you're not a student' of special interest. as we stood in the aisle, waiting to return to our respective lives, i put my hand on his shoulder, said that it was a pleasure to chat with such a bright guy. i remembered a similar interaction, with an old guy on a train over forty years ago, an interaction that sent me on the journey of a life-time. we're all in this together, each one a star that joined together offers up a most magnificent light-show.

1 comment :

  1. Beautiful, Nathan! Looking forward to seeing a more tanned version of that smiling face. Wednesday?? :-)