It’s not every day that you see Superman. But that’s what happens when you go for a walk. Anything can happen. Randomness just around a corner. Adventure only a footstep away. The best way to move is without direction. Mark Twain might have said that. Maybe not. Either way, you know he was thinking it.
Sidewalks and roads are the rivers of the soul. Our bodies try to keep up with the rambling currents of our minds. They hardly do. Thoughts never stop. They just keep going. On and on and on again. Forever. That’s where we’re aiming. Where we’re all heading. The end of the line, just to begin again. Of course, it’s not about ever getting there. It’s the act of leaving—another word for beginning—that’s important. There’s bravery in steps, even ones that lead backwards, and cowardice in standing around, staying put. Anyone can do that. Even a person with no legs.
The melting ice on the sidewalks reminds me of glaciers, soon to be extinct. What are glaciers anyway? Just oceans disguised as ice cubes. I aim for the sunny side. There’s solid ground there. Until then, easy does it. Baby steps all the way.
All around, the future is at war with the past, both competing for the present. I’m not sure who’s winning. Probably the future. It has time on its side. Buildings die. Parking lots grow old. Love fades like paint and waits for a fresh coat. I can’t tell if I’m moving forward or going backwards. There’s so much to life I have yet to figure out. Probably never will. The closest I ever came to nirvana was the band. And they’re classic rock now, which just makes me old, getting older.
A dead bird, black as night, lies face down in the snow, appearing like an omen. Looks more like a Rorschach test to me. It’s meaning somewhere along the lines of “Nevermore”
A barking dog attacks a fence. Makes me jump. Why can’t dogs be chill like cats? Nobody’s ever frightened by a meowing cat. I can’t help but notice that there’s a loose board threatening to break free. The barking continues. Grows louder and bolder. It sounds like Cujo on the other side. I suddenly feel as vulnerable as a walking mailman.
I increase my pace.
A heavy wind cuts the intersection, carrying with it a plastic bag. My mind is drawn to the movie American Beauty. I haven’t watched it in ages, but for some reason Netflix keeps recommending it for me. Because you watched Reservoir Dogs . . . Because you watched House of Cards . . . Because you watched that Indie flick starring a skinny Jonah Hill.
The list goes on and on. I think the robots behind the machines are up to something. They stalk me, track my movements, memorize my spending habits. Would you like to link your Facebook to your bank account to your Amazon account to your Instagram account to your Pinterest to your LinkedIn? Sometimes, I feel like my life is an umbilical cord attached to the fucking internet.
American Beauty. Just thinking about it is serendipitous. The plastic bag blows right at me, then past me. Taking flight until it becomes a work of art. Perhaps the meaning of life is found in that plastic bag dancing with the wind. I can’t tell if I’m the wind directing the motion, or the bag, pushed along without direction. Either way I’m moving. Without movement there is no existence.
I know that somewhere out there, there is something waiting to happen. Something important that will make my life worth living, my time less slippery, and my thoughts clearer. But that something is off in the distance like the mountains before me. Mountains are like stars, good to look at, but impossible to keep. You can put your heart in a suitcase, but that doesn’t mean it’s going anywhere.
The plastic bag floats away until it’s gone. A part of me goes with it.
I come to the conclusion that there is no serendipity, no fate, no destiny, or master plan. Just the magic that happens when you listen to instinct or follow your heart. Serendipity is that little voice in your head. The one that says do, think later. Fuck consequence. What’s consequence anyways? Just another word for the future. Something that doesn’t exist yet. If you want consequence light a match. Fire doesn’t care for consequence. If it did, then it would never go out. But fire just wants to burn. It doesn’t care who or what it takes with it. Just burn, burn, burn. More fuel. More fire. More everything that comes before the great nothing.
I want to be fire, flames in motion. Light these streets up and watch them burn. Not with destruction, but with more life. Anything to make the day brighter, the night less dark, and the loneliness of walking alone less empty.
But all I have are my steps and with each one taken I feel lighter, less burdened. Just one foot in front of the other . . .