days like this one, where it feels like all you need is a book and a dog

days like this one, where it feels like all you need is a book and a dog,
and a notebook for keeping track of your thoughts.
warm and wet, with a green-gray tint to the sky overhead.
the air feels young, and so do you.
a new story can be told that might involve falling in love
or a trip to the ocean to touch sand with the toes and stare at the stars.
the warm and wet day propels you out into the world,
where you feel free to be and say new things.
you feel like you could stay in this place forever, and never grow old.
the sun remains hidden behind the loving clouds’ warm embrace.
you can picture what it was like to stand here two decades ago
or two decades from now.

It’s a good day to write a poem or get drunk. It’s a fine day to walk until you drop. It’s the perfect day to drop into the library or bookstore and find the ultimate book of verse and wisdom. This will be the year that you slide into yourself in perfect harmony, casting aside your old, dry and scaly skin. You will have pounds of compassion to spare and wit and insight into the human condition.

It’s days like this one where you can imagine being a boy on a Mediterranean island in the times of Socrates or Homer. You can imagine running through the streets of Jerusalem when Jesus walked the earth. You can feel yourself standing in front of a Mayan structure in a rainforest, or meditating in a Buddhist temple. Just as easily, you can slip onto the streets of Manhattan, and walk among the throngs going to see jazz in Bryant Park. Everything makes sense on a day like today. Art, science, mathematics, religion, philosophy, medicine, metaphysics–all of the learned words could come from all of the various tongues of humanity, and you would understand them all.

The streets of your city are empty. People are all inside their homes, preoccupied with the moment they are in. They are straining and striving to build kingdoms that won’t be destroyed by fire or flood.

You feel nothing but compassion for all of them, and wish that they would come and join you and your dog out in the rain. It is a light rain, not too heavy to soak the bones. The air is warm, because it is early April, and the chances of catching a chill are almost nil. A few frantic cyclists and joggers push on past you. They don’t welcome the rain anymore than the people inside do, but they are determined to show the world how they can succeed even in the middle of the most intense weather known to man.

The bars in the city are mostly empty on a night like this. The bouncers and bartenders are going through the motions of caring about life, while a guitar-playing vocalist reproduces flawlessly and bloodlessly classic rock and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Somewhere in this city is the key that will unlock all the doors and take you to the secret clubs where the supple young bodies sweat to techno, take ecstasy and get up in the morning to go to yoga classes. You aren’t looking very hard for that key.

You are an old man in a young man’s body. Your goals are not the same as the goals of other people your age and younger. Your goals are to unlock the great mysteries behind the doors of life and death, of the places between sleeping and waking, of the parts of the mind that could absorb the highest math and most advanced physics while composing exquisitely beautiful music and painting crisp masterpieces rich with divine colors and sensuous forms.

Your life has been a masterpiece of a gift. How many people get to be born in this time and place in history, free of being drafted into war and free of catching most diseases that plagued people in the past? You have access to so much, and yet you take only a tiny fraction of what is offered, spurning the rest in contempt, and seeking out things that appear to be held back from you. Yet, on days like today, it would seem as if the gods are opening their hands again and extending such gifts as ones you once knew when you were too stupid to take them and make them your own.

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