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The highs this week were 100° and up. This time of year, we tend to stay in and run up the electric bill. I knew it was over 100° not because my senses quantify perception; rather, an app on my iPhone tells me so.

During the warmest part of the afternoon, the temperature rose on my second floor home, and I fell asleep for almost three hours. When, I woke up, it was 8:30 PM. I don’t know what drove me, but I grabbed a bandana, my watch, and my walking shoes. I was going outside whether I wanted to or not. Maybe it was the nightmare I had of me arguing with my mom. Maybe I’m finally putting physical activity at my core. Maybe outside can be medicine.

My afternoon morning breath and the dryness of my eyes stung my groggy consciousness into ease. My left arm and face were still imprinted from the sheets. I headed out the door, and I turned west.

Westward from the front door

The day outside is different than the day in my phone. It was 86° F — an app told me so. It can’t tell me what this feels like.

There’s a slow and steady breeze — faint and consistent enough to fall into the background. Low humidity — for San Antonio. All the chaos in Portland, all the havoc brought by this pandemic, and all the stresses of the week are experienced through a digital window, and they do and do not exist out here in this moment.

The only thing happening in the world is now. That’s all we know. Now.

At the end of the block, I turned left on Lake to the lake. What easy directions. I wish signs were always that honest.

Although I welcome healthy breaches of my reality, I have to be patient with others who are driving too fast for neighborhood streets, because their self-perpetuated intensity chases a future that is already behind them. We have a tendency to live outside of this moment.

I can draw a comparison. An app tells me the hottest numerical temperature a day will be and when that numerical temperature will be, but it cannot tell me how pretty the day will be and when that prettiness will be. That’s my perception. Likewise, these drivers are hauling ass on a Friday evening, because they live by the perception of numerical distance and numerical time. Miles per hour. Should they reach a stop sign, they would not (and they do not) stop, because it would breach their reality that depends on a space that itself is dependent on a time that are both gone before they have arrived.

And here I am. Walking with no goal. Just walking and just getting attached to the processes of other people. Place and time are stubborn perceptions of realities. Where is the balance in meeting a personal or professional deadline and not letting the deadline become my reality? How do I let space and time enumerate into my perceptions?

10 minutes from the front door and via a casual pace, I arrived to the lake. I guess I was timing this. This was a new walk to an old place. People seemed to be socially distancing. The ducks, too, were all responsibly spaced given the outbreak in San Antonio.

socially distanced ducks
sunset over the water at Woodlawn Lake

The sky was composed of smudged chalk over liquid glass. The air smelled of grass, water fowls, and foliage. The trees aches, moaned, and rustled.

This world exists through any window I peer.

I’ve come to this spot before. It’s an open lawn.

Mexican free tailed bats flew overhead and nabbed the flying insects.

Life goes on as the day goes off.

Mexican free tail bat

I breathed a bit. Paced. I walked home. Turned right too early. I got mad someone parked on the sidewalk, and then I shook it off. I called my mom when I got home. We talked about the move. She says she can make it up 15 stairs. I’d like her to see where I live.

She’s a cool person to talk about religion with, so I told her I was converting to Buddhism. I told her about the four noble truths. She’s a devout Catholic — we have some overlapping perspectives. I was never confirmed into Catholicism. I think, though, that I confirm her beliefs in my sincere pursuit of spirituality. I still felt the need to tell her that I worry that my conversion to Buddhism was part of a reaction to something else in my life. It makes sense to me, and it helps me make sense of a world experienced through windows and doors.

Sunset at Woodlawn Lake

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