I just got my third tattoo. Actually, it's my fourth, but one was covered up. This one is on the inside of my arm, just below my elbow.
It's based on this drawing I made:
When I was a kid, I used to draw words like this. I'd write my name in cursive and then mirror it (folding, rubbing with pencil, and redrawing) and marvel that my name was unrecognizable and so beautiful, disguised that way.
The word NOW is gorgeous in the same way.
See it now?
It's kind of my own secret, since I hid it on the underside of my arm, so if my arm is against my side, you can't see it even in short sleeves. But when I write, I can glance down and read the word, in my own handwriting, in purple (like the best kind of fountain pen ink).
I've been thinking a lot about that word, trying to keep it in my mind. I don't live in yesterday (though I always think it would be nice to–I have a lot of great memories in the old mental Rolodex that don't get flipped through as often as I'd like to) but I have a real problem with that whole What's happening next thing. I can be truly, deeply, and spiritually loving the bacon and eggs that Lala's fixed me in the morning and be wondering at the same time what would be good for lunch. Or worse, dinner. Instead of sitting there, enjoying the bacony goodness.
Now is now.
It's the silliest, most simple thing, but it's HUGE. It's all, perhaps. Where you are sitting (because I bet you're seated) right now is the only moment you're sure of. Are you comfortable? Do you, like me, have the remains of a perfect peach to your left? Is it too hot where you are? Too cold? How does your body feel? Are you listening to music? Maybe you're stealing time away from work to cruise blogs (good for you). Are you hungry? Maybe, just for a minute, look around and be amazed that you are where you are. Right now.
Me: I have the desk fan pointed on me because I'm hot (as usual). Outside, the sprinkler is going because I finally remembered to turn it on (our grass is browning). There's a kid playing in it, washing off a tennis ball. He's sweet, about five, maybe. I don't know his name, but we're pals. From the kitchen on the other side of the house, I can hear The Lone Bellow, the album I put on to make dinner to. A dog is snoring in the living room.
Now is now. Now is pretty fucking awesome.
I think it's hitting me more today because I just got the tattoo, but it's been joyously lovely to keep in mind. After I went to the grocery store, I was driving home in heavy, slow traffic on 580. A 50s pickup truck was broken down in the left hand shoulder. Half a mile ahead, a man walked right next to the fast lane (which I was in). The top of the SmartCar and the windows were down, so as I passed him, I said, "Want a ride?"
You should have seen his face. When he woke up that morning, he hadn't planned on riding in SmartCar, I could tell. But how on earth was he going to cross five lanes of heavy traffic without getting smooshed like a bug? He said he'd been wondering that himself. And as I made my way to the right lane, to the exit that would take us to a gas station where I could drop him off, as we chatted about the truck (that he had just bought, poor guy), we were both kind of astounded as to where we suddenly found ourselves, I think. I'd been alone in my car a few seconds before, with no intention of picking up a stranger. He'd been trudging down the road, stuck on the wrong side of a river of traffic.
Suddenly we were both in the car, music playing, laughing. It was a lovely, lovely moment that didn't even last three minutes. When I got back on the freeway, I entered right behind the car I'd been behind originally (that's how bad traffic was). And I hadn't helped the guy out in any substantial way — he still had to deal with a broken-down truck on the freeway. But I'd helped for a few seconds, and we'd had fun.
And now? Now I'm going to brine some chicken and then go sit on the porch with a glass of wine and my book. It's a gorgeous night. I hope you're enjoying the now, my ducks. Love.
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