A near perfect fall day

7 Oct

Today was a near perfect fall day. For the first time in four days, it didn’t rain. The past few days drizzled all day long. Felt like the set of a mystery novel or maybe Seattle. It was so nice and bright and dry that I took my lunch down to the park. Shade covered the bench, and I wished to feel the sun. So I sat on rocks rimming the pond where I could feel the sun on my back, seeping into my blood. And then I began looking. The leaves faded half-way on the trees from green into red and yellow touching the blue sky. Skinny yellow leaves covered the dirt pathway like rice after a wedding. Everything was dewy, glistening in the sunshine. I wanted to take my shoes off and slip my feet into the cool water, but of course I didn’t.

I ate my sandwich, and it occurred to me that one of the things I dislike about my job is the amount of time I spend staring at a computer screen. My lower back hurts, but that’s probably just from my own bad posture. My eyes get blurry and dry. A headache forms. I rub my eyes, but it doesn’t help. It just makes them worse. I crack my back and look around the office for a few minutes, but neither works.

I cannot help but think humans weren’t meant to stare at a screen for so long. It’s not natural. To some extent, it must be like what chemicals are to the human body: not organic, therefore not very healthy. Just like we shouldn’t eat certain food, the eyes surely must not digest artificiality for too long. It occurred to me as I looked at the water bugs skating along the surface and the barely visible bugs flitting through the mud that even they were lovely to look at compared to a screen. Being there in the park, surrounded by soft wind and pretty colors and gurgling water, reminded me that I miss real life, especially nature, terribly when I’m confined to my chair for great lengths of time.

Looking at the sky itself was a balm to my eyes, soothing them and replenishing their moisture. I realized how I need grass and rocks and water in my life. Without them, everything takes on a sharp cartoony feel. And it hurts.

I get out reporting sometimes, like this morning when I talked to a mural painter. He’s painting a town water tower. When I arrived, he was up on a lift, painting a 100 foot high American flag, at that very moment. I waved. I must have looked like an ant. The crane whirred, and it began crouching lower and lower until the man materialized. I wondered, “How does one get to be the designated painter of a water tower mural?” I discovered he specializes in big paintings, and he uses a grid method that he says “Goes back even before Michelangelo.” He tells me lots of interesting things, and I’m scribbling and thinking he seems like a really nice guy—and obviously an incredible painter.

Afterwards, I returned to my screen. At the end of the day, I left to find a parking ticket tucked inside my windshield wiper. As I said, it was nearly a perfect day.

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