Saturday, August 29, 2009

short list

It’s surprising how easy it is to downsize life. I don’t mean just shedding possessions and moving into smaller space (though that, too, is really quite easy). I mean reducing your obligations and commitments so that there are very few left. Only the essentials.

I read the story in the Times today about a suddenly unemployed fellow who, at the age of 58, could not find a job and, therefore, experienced an emptiness that comes not only from an absence of work but also an absence of things to do.

Of course, I do not lack things to do. My work plate (broadly baked) is heaping. My daily tasks are finite, but demanding. And, I still worry about cooking a good meal at the end of the day.

But the list, while bloated and bulging in what it asks of me, has very few items on it. Numerically speaking, it is quite short. The inconsequential social engagements, the endless to-dos and should-dos are almost entirely gone.

And for at least a brief period (say, between age 56 and 56.75), I want it to be quiet.

As the late August day begins, with more clouds and insanely cool temperatures (did I ever feel hot this summer?), I think – time to go to the market. And it is the only thing that I do of note. The conversations I will have there may be the only face to face encounters I have all day (Ed doesn’t count, if only because the man’s face is hidden behind text or screen for a good number of his waking hours).

So, in celebration of humanity on this blustery day, here are the colors of the market. Inadvertently, I seem to have picked out the reds of the day. Who could blame me. Did I mention it is an October-like day here?