Taking my DD to high school is a quiet affair. She doesn't talk much, and I ask her the usual questions, just for something to say, or to check in with her: "Are you tired? How's your stomach?" (this morning's question, as she had a stomach ache a couple days before). Tired, yes, usually. And as this is her first month at this school, tired is to be expected. Stress and starting almost from the beginning with making friends takes its toll on one's well-being. Especially at the age of 16.
So, I dropped her off at the usual curb. There is often quite a line-up of cars; this week has been a little quieter, as I think many kids are getting sick. Probably for all the same reasons as DD, and because of all those bodies together again after the fresh air and freedom of summer. I return DD's back-handed wave, and begin to pull out into the flow once more, but am blocked by a red car not bothering to pull over. It stops in the main thoroughfare, drops it's student , and continues on its way, and I'm still waiting to blend in and be on my way. Well, okay, it was easy to pull out after this vehicle, but the point is, I was signaling and about to pull out when she cut me off.
There aren't many things that bother me more than irritating drivers. People who own the road. People who seem to think only of themselves; who cares what other drivers are thinking/feeling?! Not them, apparently. They are in the moment for themselves, and everyone else can damn well wait. My usual reaction is to follow them sort of closely (especially if they were crowding my from behind, then passed me, only to drive slower in front of me). My ire is rising, and I'm on my way.
But then, something I read a couple of days ago in Artist's Way comes back to me, something I couldn't remember yesterday. Something about making the best of the current situation, for lack of a better description. Something about Observation.
This week, and some of the days prior, has been beautiful. A good Indian summer, as they call it. Tuesday clouded over, and spit on my windshield on the way to the post office. But yesterday, Weds, was back to being nice again. Felt good to sit outside. Today, however, and in keeping with Yahoo weather reporting, it has quickly grown darker. The light out there right now is a strange pre-storm yellow. There is a Pileated Woodpecker hammering away at the Spartans at the top of the tree. On my way, taking DD to school, the sky was a mix of greys, pale blues and morning blush. There was a grouping of clouds radiating out like the rays of the sun coming over the mountains. I was taken in, as I usually am by the sky's doings.
So, here I am, a few minutes later, my ire rising as I said, following the red car, and it occurs to me that I'd read recently about changing my thought pattern by simple observation. The sky was changing it's pattern, becoming more and more dramatic; by the tennis courts there were empty bottles of gatorade and water lined up like teens waiting to play, the flow of cars lightening, school busses heading back to the barn. The cop on the side of the road, gone, and the maples redder today than they were yesterday. And the red car, out of sight.
This isn't to say that other things don't creep in and threaten to obliterate the power of observation, like "oh god, I need to schedule DD's oral surgeon appt," or "crap, did I forget to mail that bill?" Following the breath, the changing sky, the reddening trees--it all helps. In more ways than one.