Very little gets past me on an average day. As a writer, I have trained myself to observe the nuances of everyday life; the events and situations that might otherwise go unnoticed. As an observer of the human condition, I have been blessed with the ability to extract the deeper meaning to be found within what would otherwise be called ordinary. It can be a curse at times, as my mind is overwhelmed with a barrage of images and thoughts. Nonetheless, I am thankful to be able to share my insights and inspirations with the world.
Inspiration is not always waiting on the corner for me. In fact, there are times where it has taken a long Caribbean vacation, leaving me in a quandary as to what I will write about! Such was the case last week as I plodded along on my morning walk with the dog. I was keenly aware of my surroundings, taking in all of the details around me. Still, nothing was jumping out at me as a topic for my daily blog. It seemed that the harder I struggled for ideas, the more blank the canvas of my mind became!
Pausing to let my hound sniff at a new buried treasure, I resigned myself to the fact that it would be a day with no blog post. Rather than try to force a topic, I would forgo the joy of sharing my insights for the day. Suddenly, Xena jerked up from the pile of leaves she had been sniffing. The ears were drawn up, the long tail was extended, and her head jerked off to the right. I wondered if she had picked up the scent of an urban fox.
I scanned the wooded area along the long ago forsaken railroad tracks. In the thick bushes and tall prairie grass there was nothing to be seen but a vast collection of rubbish. The path that we usually take in the morning winds next to a long alley on one side and the tracks on the other. People have taken to dumping their trash and tattered furniture in the dense undergrowth. It has become a museum of modern-day littering and a testament to the disposable nature of our society. It also speaks volumes about our lack of respect for the beauty of nature!
By now the dog had returned to her ritualistic sniffing, tugging to lead me down the path. Again, she came to a dead stop, completely alert and with one paw lifted. She was looking curiously of to the right once more! I followed her line of sight, but saw nothing out of the ordinary. Then I heard the faint source of her captivation. We were both hearing the haunting, yet at the same time alluring, sound of a windchime.
There was a series of houses abutting the edge of the alley behind us, but the sound was not coming from that direction. There was another development on the far side of the railroad tracks, but the homes had to be at least fifty yards away. With very little wind blowing, it was hard to believe that the sound could be carrying that far. I stood behind Xena and this time carefully followed the direction in which her nose was pointed.
I was amazed that I had missed it in the first place. Hanging some twenty feet away from us was a mobile. It had been made of sticks from the nearby trees and was held together by weathered string. Five pieces of the twine each held a single object. Four of the strings wrapped around the tops of empty liquor bottles. In the center was a small rock that served as a clapper. It had been wrapped multiple times with the string and swung back and forth in the center of the glass vessels. The sound it emitted, as a gentle breeze came up, was soothing and melodic.
There are a large number of homeless people who frequent this area. Many of them will spend the night nestled amongst the warmth of thick underbrush. On our morning walks, we have come across some of these unfortunate souls. My guess was that a street person had put together the mobile before moving on towards whatever destiny awaited them.
In spite of their predicament and the hardships that they were enduring; they had taken the time to create something crude yet beautiful. With meager possessions, a thing of beauty had been constructed and shared with the world. Somebody had overcome the harshest of life conditions just long enough to leave a legacy for perfect strangers!
If you are reading my words at this very moment, it is safe to assume that you are not homeless. You do not spend the day foraging for food and you do not spend the night looking for a safe place to sleep. You have not been stripped of your dignity as a human being. Without those distractions gnawing away at you; what will your mobile look like and are you willing to share it with the world?