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An easy kind of gray. Here I am… sitting to write again. I just returned from a walk with Charlie, as is our habit, we journeyed around the little road that curves through the neighborhood where I live. We followed the road around to the little ageing office building on Mulberry Street, with its faded brown wooden shingled false front, bearing witness to the temporary wonders of the pre- Vietnam era. There are large full wall windows with crazy swirling cleaning streaks glinting in the morning light, reminiscent of multiple repairs of the transient marring of the translucence by wet canine noses and children’s fingers, happy and tired from their play at the adjacent playground. The windows are covered with various and sundry advertisements hailing the benefits of various pieces of real estate, the wonderful prices of certain handymen and their services. There is a Laundromat in the building, a small one at that- with old wheeled laundry baskets and clothes racks bearing the old Permanent Pressed emblem, bearing witness to the age of the implements. An enormous garbage can is in the corner, bearing the potential for myriads of low interest, pre approved credit cards, temporary 100% free subscriptions to playboy and reader’s digest, coupons for supermarkets, the bin overflowing with the seemingly hundreds of unwanted and unopened bulk mailings advertisers are sure we must be dying to see. There are rows of mailboxes along two walls… I am represented by a little oblong aluminum box in the lower left corner… seems strange to be living such an existence. I had a check I had to mail. I accomplished the task I set out to do and followed Charlie back out into the gray Iowa day. I thought as I walked about how the day started; there was a gorgeous blue sky, almost like the fantastic blue expanses of home, a wonderful little crisp breeze was breathing thoughts of green grass, budding leaves and flowers, growth and life, reminding me that spring was on it’s way as I walked to class this morning. But the glorious morning has faded to a gentle gray, reminding me with the gathering clouds and increasing wind that a storm was forecast for today. As I walked in time to the clickety click of Charlie’s nails on the pavement, little spotlets of water began to fall upon my favorite old flannel jacket and the increasingly wet pavement splattered up on Charlie’s underside as he bowed his head to the growing wind as we both instinctively increased our pace, neither of us overly anxious to be caught by the steadily increasing rain. We had just ran up the little sidewalk, pitted and worn with the memory of decades of changing seasons and owners, jumped up the stairs of the deck, and my key inserted into the walk as the storm hit… I threw open the door and we both leapt inside simultaneously; safe from the gale that now raged, dripping on the cheap green doormat, a relic from some bygone Wal-Mart sale. I told Charlie to sit while I went to the bathroom to retrieve a towel to dry my dripping dog. As I rubbed the little fellow down I marveled again at how much beauty is to be found in the daily practice of life, I thought about how easily the continuity of hope and the quality of grace is obscured by my taking for granted the easy sort of habit, the “gray days” inherent to my daily living. I am again aware, and I am thankful.
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