be present

Grounding in the City


I am trying to take my therapist's advice to engage my senses as a way of grounding and being present. So I stop at the Pope John Paul II Prayer Garden on my way back to the office after running errands at lunch. This first day of June is hot as if reminding us that summer is indeed here to stay, but a strong breeze cools my skin as well as whips my dress around and spirals bits of pollen and plants in the air. The garden is noisy with the heart of Mt Vernon going on around it. Buses and taxis, cars and pedestrians, construction and birds. The sun is strong but I have a shady spot under a dogwood. Pink tinged hydrangeas guard my back, and the bench overlooks swaths of hot pink roses, lavender colored catmint and the large fluffy white flowers on the oak leaf hydrangeas. A mural on the parking garage to the left, a filtered view of the Unitarian church at the opposite end. If this is a peace garden then it fails at the traditional sense of peacefulness, but it is a place to engage my senses fully, to be an observer to the street life rather than jumbled in the midst of it.

One more moment - I hear sirens and dump trucks and horns. I feel a warm breeze and the tickle of a fly on my foot. I smell the rose lotion on my arms. I see the contrast of plants and buildings, natural and man made. I notice the acid taste left over from the morning's donut. I acknowledge this moment and then I move on.