Partner Lesson #3: What Do the Simple Folk Do?


Okay, that title sounds BAD.

But the point is, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m a little esoteric, metaphysical, intellectual and generally out there.  With attitude and swearing, but still.  Give me an idea and I can keep myself busy thinking about it for a month or so.

In the meantime, my partner goes to her garden.  She paints the windowsills.  She sits out on the back porch.

“You want to sit out here and eat?” she asks me.  “It’s really nice.”

“There’s nothing in life like a cool breeze,” she says as she gets out of the car and takes a moment to stand in the middle of our street, in the dark, with the mosquitoes and moths buzzing around the light in front of our house.  “Feel that.”  Then she tips her head back and sighs.  “I love a breeze in summer.”

She also loves a breeze in spring and fall.

I look at her.  “I know you do,” I say.  “Please get out of the street so you won’t be hit by a car.”

“No, feel that,” she says.

So I stop.  And inevitably, a breeze touches my skin, moves through my clothes, ruffles my hair.  Making me suddenly and immediately tactile, appreciating this body, this moment, this night.

“Fine, it is nice,” I say with my usual grace.  “It’s also nice over here on the sidewalk where the cars won’t kill you.”

Realistically, we live on a pretty small street, and the cars don’t pass that often.  I’m just resisting being in the moment before I let go, before I admit that I married her for just this, to remind me that the simplest things can wake you up, make you stop, take notice, say this is life.  Not only the theatre and the meditation hall, not only the stretch of the body in yoga, not only the grand vista from a mountain or on the lip of a canyon.  The passing of a breeze in Roxbury, MA, with sirens from the hospitals still audible, with the oil stain on the street, with the friendly skunk ambling, no doubt, in the alley next to our house.

Last Saturday she convinced me to come for another tour of her plot in the community garden.  I mean, I don’t even know how to respond to her enthusiasm.  It’s very cute.

“Look at the baby zucchini,” she says, practically jumping up and down.  “It just appeared yesterday!”  (The baby zucchini is one inch long.)  And here are some flowers on the eggplant and I think each flower will be an eggplant.  And the basil is ready, but I don’t know how to trim anything because I don’t know what I’m doing.”  Then she looks up at me like a three year old.

I should say that I’m offered tours of the garden a few times a week.  I helped pick the basil and lettuce; I made pesto.   I’m just in awe of how happy she gets about something that isn’t a story she’s making up in her head planning to get other people to come and watch it.

When we lived in an apartment complex she grew a green pepper plant on our balcony.  I think it produced one pepper, which we cut open and ate with great reverence.

In the Camelot song from which the title of this blog is taken, the simple folk dance a fiery dance.  In Roxbury, they grow vegetables and flowers, fix things around the house, and stand in a breeze, really noticing a tactile, physical moment in their lives.

Basically, my partner has it right.  Me, of the metaphysically-obsessed variety, may write books or blogs about being in the moment.  She actually lives there.  Constantly trying to get me to visit. Childlikeness, in the true sense of the spiritual.  Beginner’s mind.  As I make these concepts, she walks down the hallway to the kitchen to make breakfast.  I will go join her, and she will no doubt tell me to taste something, and I will try to pay attention to taste, to the feel of her arms around me as she says good-bye for the day, to the pound of her footsteps outside the window.

I will do what the truly openhearted do.  I will live the moment I’m in, following the instructions of my teacher, my partner, my irritating, lovable, garden-obsessed breeze person.

Then I’ll write another blog or two, because I am still me, and this is still fun.

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