Friday, January 25, 2008

Back Into the Fray

This morning as I headed north on I-95, running the gauntlet of trucks and agressive drivers at 6:30 a.m., I thought about how much of our lives is spent hurtling our bodies from one space to another. Having taken several courses in physics, I remember that it was not only the car that was moving at 80 m.p.h. (yes, I was speeding), but my body too. Suddenly, I didn't want my body rushing through space so rapidly.

Lifting my foot off the gas pedal, I moved over to the right lane, tuned into Thelonius Monk's "The Measure of Monk," and trusted that no matter what happened, I would not be late for my first day of teaching; and even if I was late, the universe would take care of me and everything would be alright.

As I tuned into Monk, rather than allowing him simply to be background music to my commute to work this morning, I heard the distinctive voices of jazz lovers "calling and responding" to Monk and his band. Although I've listened to this recording before, I suddenly realized that some of the tracks were recorded live.

Today I put forth a concerted effort to pay closer attention to the environment in which I am engaged, and not allow sights, sounds, smells, or people to become background noise to my life.


ssascms said...

80 m.p.h. on I-95? Oh No Shelley! Seriously, I remember those days on I-95. You had to drive 80 m.p.h. whenever the traffic was moving so you wouldn't get "pushed" off the road. If I had "Mom" with me, we would be listening to "Prime Of My Life" by Phyllis Hyman, or something by the "rapid thumb" of Wes or perhaps the "nimble" keyboard fingers by Errol when I compromise with "Mom". The idea was to emerge yourself in your choice of musical sounds while you managed, both physically and mentally, the unavoidable but inevitable environmental offerings of I-95. But, enjoy it to the fullest my daughter, for the DC area is unlike anything and/or anywhere else. I do miss it.


M. L. Simms said...

Yes, dad it is. And after I posted 80 mph, I thought, my dad is going to kill me. He told me don't push that Honda that fast; it's too old. Of course, I listen to Phyllis Hyman too. And I am so happy that I am in the Prime of My Life. Read the next blog about "Comfort Food."

Karry said...

Hey Michelle. This is your friend and colleague Karry. I was wondering where you were; I have not seen you (and still haven't) since we returned to work. I will make it a point to stop by your office (our office, fondly) tomorrow, Wednesday.

Thanks for this post; it reminded me of the time I spent at home this past holiday season, taking in the sights and sounds of family, especially my nephew, and as Morrison says, being in the moment (paraphrase). I was in no rush to get back to the rigor of thinking for others; this time, and consciously done, I really enjoyed my moment at home. I am learning how to do nothing when the moment calls for simply enjoying family and personal friends.

M. L. Simms said...

Karry, one of my students asked me, "does Dr. Hathaway still work here?" And I paused, and said, "I think he does." I'm glad to know that you still around. Do drop in tomorrow.