After shaving the beard off, after the hair cut the next day, groceries, I go for a walk, up Massachusetts Avenue, past the Embassy of Japan, past the Turkish fortress with Ataturk's statue, past the Saudi mosque's minaret, past cherry trees in full bloom, I cross the bridge and step off the sidewalk onto the lawn that leads down into the paths through the woods and along the stream. The first green buds have come out, on Mulberry and Honeysuckle, and buds are out up in the high trees, and the stream is running well, making sound as it ripples and makes its current as it seeks away toward the sea. The weather has warmed. I see a hawk in a tree. I walk along the stream, first up to the footbridge, below the Omni Shoreham, to look down into the water to see if anything is swimming in the current. Young male mallards, four, come flying in and under the bridge and land behind me in the waters, then drift back under the bridge below me in a row to join another.
Walking back, out of the woods the cars along the wide avenue are stopped in long rows at the traffic lights. Like the early scene, before words, of Fellini's movie about the director's life, the blank faces, frozen, the motionless, the excessive quality. Here, more than half in upscale motorcars. (I recognize a tightwad tipper in a silver convertible Porsche.) In Fellini's dream of striving humanity going nowhere, the director character, Mastroianni, of course, begins to feel the claustrophobia, and indeed, his car, stylish, black, starts to fill up with fog, and we hear him going tight of breath. We see his shoed foot trying to kick out the window. And then the dream takes him (if I have the sequence correctly) flying, way up above the surf and sand, a human kite, still with cape and hat, and then suddenly falling. As one falls in dreams, alarmingly, fast, a long way down. At which point he wakes up, startled and about to pant, in a place where he is taking the cure.
Fellini's dream is not that much different from the sensations of the impressions I have as I walk along the sidewalk, tramping slowly after a nice slow walk getting my feet in touch with the dirt and the rocks, the stumps, the mud, the slopes by the feeding streams.
I was a complete young jerk like many another, aping an image, thinking I was cool. But at least I've dropped that, humble now, glad to have an old pair of binoculars strung down from my neck as I trudge back. I am no longer playing the role, the stern bad-ass lawyer in pole position at the traffic light by the mosque with perfect hair, attitude, suit, BMW, impatient grip on the steering wheel.
I am going nowhere special in life, maybe, as far as I know, off to economic disasters I cannot now comprehend, but it's found to be hard to look at all the faces of a Friday rush hour and wonder, the attitude, I am going somewhere. And where are you taking the rest of us? What is happening to the creatures we share the world of nature with? The faces look forward, frozen.
Out in the woods, finally feeling at home, relaxed and at peace, I am alone, blank as a person as the hawk in the tree is blank as a hawk, simply what it is. Freed from the past, complete in the present. Waiting. Alive as if in and of the original garden, free of sin, causing as little harm as possible.