Maybe part of the problem is that there is so much– so much to see, so much to taste, so much to smell, so much to feel, it’s overwhelming. Maybe not so much a problem as a condition– of stepping into life, of actually being awake and tuning in to all that is around us.
I see it in my dogs. They are exhausted after our walkabouts– not physically, but on the level (dare I say emotionally?) where they store the thousands of smells that they catalogue each and every step along the sidewalk, across the fields, down the streets– the thousands of sights, the hundreds of people– the many dozens of hands that reach down to stroke their heads and say hello– they are trying to take it all in, but man– it’s a lot.
For me? Pretty much the same although I don’t store it all through my nose, bien entendu. Choices and choices and options and options — even if I focus on just one thing– like say, let’s go to the Farmer’s Market (which we did and my god, was it good). But then, we get there– and where to begin? With the booths and stands of fresh flowers and if yes, how do I choose? Fat bunches of tall sunflowers– orange, yellow and almost reddish, dahlias in every shade of deep burgundy, buckets upon buckets of daisies white daisies bobbing their heads (maybe they’re grooving to the live folk music on the green behind me?)
We walk over toward the music– six guys, young, grinning, singing– fiddles, washboards, guitars, straw hats— dogs are being so good, now and again I let them off lead as we wander– there’s a booth of fresh oysters, scallops on ice– and let’s not even talk about the vegetables– I came here for the veggies and now I can’t decide– it’s too overwhelming.
What do I need? What do I want?
The dogs lead me away where I breathe and turn slowly in a circle under the great oak shading my bare head from the sun, where I can get some perspective on the small half moon of people practicing tai chi in the open grass. I see another set of white canvas booths and we stroll over there– oh man, this is the art and hand made goods side— and you realize, this is the town with RISD in it, yes?
So I lose myself into a booth of the most fabulous clothes and come out with two tank dresses one of which may stand as the greatest tank dress I have ever found. Earrings I cannot leave on the stand that simply must come home with me, two pairs, actually (funny how I don’t seem to have trouble making a commitment here, funny how questions like do I need it, will I eat it– don’t seem to figure into the equation of — must have. They are mine).
Belgian chocolate gelato, apples I’ve never tasted before, wild cherries by the basket– meeting people, one wonderful woman I am going to visit in her studio today.
It’s a lot– and that was just one morning excursion–
I cannot even possibly extrapolate this to the concept of being in Rome or Stockholm or Delhi, Iowa City, Vancouver, etc. All these worlds going on– worlds upon worlds upon worlds of beauty and sensory overload— this is how it feels to me right now as I send out tendrils of exploration around the block of this new neighborhood, in this new town, this new city, this new life.
In a few hours, always ready for more.
Oh sweet life, I am just one eensy human being– your pleasures, they are infinite and yes, at times, overwhelming. But, give it awhile, right? — surely I’ll be jaded and cool, indifferent and difficult to please in just a matter of time.*
Ha– can’t happen. Am a five-year old, now and forever.