I went to bed last night looking forward to my time with some beach front caffeine. I even woke up this morning, early like a typical day, looking forward to my, shot in the dark, beginning to another week in the pastoral arts realm. For those of you who have not been cultured in the art of coffee, a shot in the dark for me is a grande (that’s graand – A) brewed straight coffee with a shot of espresso (not expresso). My life centers around it now pretty much and my 10 days back on the East coast drove home the reality that I can no longer consider living anyplace that I would have to go more than two blocks for a fix.
Really, I don’t know how the rest of civilization deals with a Maxwell House kind of life.
Anyway, before being sidetracked, as I was saying, or typing, I was looking forward to the day. Almost imperceptibly though, a change began to come over me on the way down to my Monday retreat. It’s almost as if the grayness of the morning sky seeped into my very being.
It is gray this morning. It’s probably a redundant statement considering I’m writing in Seattle. I like to think of it as the land of the concrete sky. Almost as if on cue, as the calendar changed to the first days of Fall, the grayness has begun its relentless march onto our landscape. Now, I want you to notice that I said nothing about rain. All the rumors of the rain in Seattle are pretty much left over desperate whinings of the natives trying desperately to keep the interlopers from southern California from settling here.
You want rain? Try Syracuse. You want gray? That’s what we’re here for. Gray doesn’t mean anything but gray here. It may rain, probably not. In Syracuse, gray means rain, sun means rain, a rogue wandering cotton like cloud means rain. This place is the Sahara compared to my east coast hometown.
This gray is different though. It’s not just the color of the water. It’s not just the marine layer, aka fog, aka overcast, whatever. It’s a point where, imperceptibly, a switch is turned and your soul downshifts, like a truck entering a mountain pass. My headphones become more melancholy, people seem more intrusive, and isolation more appealing. It’s as if a more intense level of quiet and self absorption will reveal an inner voice of comfort, offering answers to great mysteries of the universe and my own personal being. Fortunately for me, in the midst of the gray, almost according to some cosmic stage direction from “The Truman Show”, color happens. A tug boat passes.
It’s not much and you might not quite understand, but the brilliant red of the tug against the backdrop of dull reminds me of a greater truth. This day has purpose in and of itself, regardless of the surroundings. I can be color against the gray. Hope gets to stand in contrast to despair. The Master painter has a greater variety on his palette than I can even comprehend. It’s held out to me, on a Monday of all days, to choose from as I will. I’m not sure of the choice yet, but I can tell you that I will resist the gray.