Yesterday afternoon a friend called. Well, she didn’t actually call call; she sent me an email. Which is what she does instead of calling. But her emails have the quality of a phone call, so I think of them as ‘calls’. Anyway, she said “What exciting thing did you do today?” As if all my days are filled with exciting things.
“I moved a couple of stones around on the table on the deck,” I said. “Then looked at the places where the stones used to be.” Not what you’d call traditionally exciting.
There’s this table on the deck — a little round glass-topped table — and I put stuff on it. You know how it is; you move around through the world and you pick stuff up. An odd-shaped stone or an interesting piece of wood or dried dog-chewed chunk of tennis ball. I don’t know what most folks do with that stuff, but me, I put it on the table. I used to put stuff on the table then photograph the stuff. An art project, I guess you could say. Then after a year or so I stopped doing that as a project. I still put stuff on the table and occasionally photograph it — just not as a project.
Here’s something obvious: if you leave a thing on the table for a while, it gathers dust. When it rains, the dust washes off. That dust dries around the base of the thing. So if you leave a thing on the table for a long while, then move it, sometimes it leaves an interesting pattern. Sometimes it just leaves a mess, but sometimes there’s a pattern and sometimes that pattern is interesting.
I like to look at those patterns. They please me. The whole process of creating that pattern pleases me. Sometimes I’ll leave the pattern and wait for the next rain to destroy it. More often I’ll just Windex the hell out of it and wipe it away. Then I’ll put something else on the table. Or maybe just re-arrange whatever crap is already at rest on the table.
Then I’ll wait. It’s a calm, still, quiet, personal sort of excitement.
Anyway, that’s the exciting thing I did. I picked up the stones and looked at the patterns left behind. Then I put one of the stones down again.
It’s a pleasant little stone. Looks a bit like an egg. I saw it as I was walking down Delaware Avenue, sitting with a few thousand other decorative stones surrounding some greenery in front of Guadalajara, a Mexican restaurant. Only took a moment to stop, stoop down, and pick it up. I don’t think the folks at Guadalajara would mind that I took their stone.
Later, the cat came wandering out. The cat takes a limited interest in these things. The cat doesn’t particularly care about patterns of dust left by rain-washed stones; the cat just wants to be around when something’s happening — even if that something is nothing much.
The cat has her own metrics for excitement.