Wednesday, May 2, 2012

the color of morning

what color is 9 o'clock on a sunny weekday morning?

is it a sea blue sky? a rich brown dirt? a shimmery green hummingbird? or an indifferent gray sidewalk like the sidewalk that will soon support my feet as i walk up the little hill to sherman's book shop on main street in freeport?

yet in order to step on the gray sidewalk i first must slide out of the car, close the door, press the lock button on my key and hear the all's locked up safe and secure beep. that's when i turn and notice a man in his late twenties (or early thirties? i can never tell, i can never estimate anyone's age well. is that because it's not on my radar screen, it's not important to me?) jogging toward me.

in the millisecond it takes for me to glance at him and note his uncertain age, my brain registers that he is a complete stranger—does he live here and i just don't know him, or is he visiting friends, or is he staying in a hotel or a b&b in town?—and that he is asian, of average height and build, and is wearing shorts, t-shirt, sneakers. that's all i think there is.

as he runs past me on his way up the hill he turns his head and looks me in the eye. he's a good-looking guy.

he smiles and says "beautiful morning, isn't it?"

this beautiful morning reminds me of atlanta's friendly streets last september, and also of the pathways winding around phillips exeter academy where students habitually nod and greet and offer thoughtful recognition of fellow students, faculty and strangers in their midst by using their eyes as well as their voices.

i respond "yes, it certainly is."

by the time i put my keys in my handbag and arrive on the sidewalk he turns a corner and is gone.

what color is 9 o'clock on a sunny weekday morning?

i now see that it is the color of the wide, wide world and honest words and a smile on a stranger's face.


Jayne said...

Oh, just love this. I think Benjamin Moore should offer a new shade: "wide, wide world and honest words and a smile on a stranger's face." Sure to be their biggest seller ever. ;)

(Note to self: write down name of that bookstore.)

Leonora said...

Oh, I like these thoughts. What color is any moment of any day?

I was looking at my mom's old black and white photos recently and I realized that I always think of my parents' past as a black and white world.