I’m sitting at my computer right now on Monday evening. Tuesday is garbage day in my neighbourhood. While the compost and trash have to stay inside until the morning lest the smell attract the local bear population, the recycling is now out beside the curb awaiting collection. I guess bears just aren’t that interested in well-cleaned tin cans and last week’s newspapers.
As I finished cleaning out the kitchen this evening, I gathered up some recycling that hadn’t made its way into the bin before the bin made its way to the curb. I headed out the front door to drop off the empty cans, so they wouldn’t have to hang around my house for another week. As I did, I experienced a perfect moment.
My feet were bare, and the pavement of my driveway felt surprisingly cold beneath my feet. It was a warm spring day today, but as the darkness descended there was an undeniable chill in the air. The cold had a grounding effect on me, drawing me out of my head and into my body, reminding me of where I was and what I was doing. As my awareness shifted from the to-do list I was running through in my head to the world around me, I took a deep lungful of air. The world right now smells of springtime – a heady mix of flowers, sweet green grass, rich earth and resiny sap seeping out of newly-awakened branches. It’s the clean smell of a world made new, and I love it.
The sky overhead was deepening to a purple-blue, still lighter around the edges. The last remnants of the sunset had almost completely died away, but the light hadn’t all disappeared. The streetlamp that stands directly over the spot where we leave the recycling bin glowed yellow in brilliant contrast to the colour of the sky. Taken together, the two shades spoke of light and darkness, and that magical time of day that is neither day nor night, and yet both at the same time.
While I dropped my cans in the bin, I took it all in. The colours, the smells, the cool air, the sound of a bird singing out its good night. And just for one moment, I forgot about all the millions of little thoughts that normally fill my head. The things I have to do. The things I regret not doing. The plans I make and the shopping lists I compile. Those things that normally jostle around all together, reminding me that I am never fully done. For a moment they were gone, and it was perfect. Standing there, bare feet on cool pavement, feeling the spring evening all around me, full of life and beauty and something bigger than all my petty cares.
And then I headed back inside, and the thoughts encroached again. But somehow, having had that moment eased my burden, even if only a little. And it reminded me that really, that perfection is always there, just out of reach. Even in the most mundane moments, as I run the recycling out to the curb on a Monday evening.