Olive Thorne Miller, 19th Century American Nature Writer
My eyes were attracted by a red dome they had never seen until yesterday morning. “What is that?” my forever moving mind questioned.
I drove to where the dome was calling me to look, like a lighthouse in the dark, to discover a church with spectacularly beautiful grounds I had never noticed before within a mile of my home. Why had I never seen this place? Granted, Samuel and I have been taking slightly different roads to his school lately, primarily to invoke exactly this experience.
I found this synchronicity ironic since lately I have been longing for church and lamenting my personal lack of a religious community to experience the connected feeling of individuals within a collective spiritual family. Now I am not a member of this particular denomination, but many of my historic religious heroes were a member of this faith.
Teresa of Avila, Francis and Chiara of Assissi, Mechteld de Magenberg , were mystics who, in my mind, transcend the restrictive titles and associations with individual denominations.
I took several photos and vowed to return. I drove further down the same street to a veritable explosion of purple. I had discovered a jacaranda tree on this street earlier. I had photographed the purple flowers, covering the street in a vibrant flower-like-snow storm. When I reviewed the photos of the brick sidewalk, I noticed I hadn’t taken a photo of the artisan/construction company name.
I went back and snapped it, the squared letters of “CARNEGIE” bowing as I took a photo.
I continued until I reached another new favorite spot, the one time “College Inn” which I learned was once a bar. It is now a living quarters. I met the residents solely due to curiosity and the desire to take more photos of the tired and weary sign on the corner. I had guessed it was a long ago motel that was missing other bungalow style accommodations.
The renters gave me the small bit of story they had: this was a bar back in the day. My favorite was when the man I was speaking to called out to his wife, “Oh, yeah, this lady was trippin’ on the sign so I was just telling her about the house.” A blonde woman stood in the art deco doorway to join the conversation. I usually would not have engaged this couple in such lengthy, passion discussions, but at that moment my passion trumped any trepidation I might normally hold at an arm’s distance at least.
I have come to want a greater intimacy with all aspects of my life: even and especially the nooks and crannies of my neighborhood I have yet to explore. I find it fascinating, this newfound exhilaration of traveling around to see what is waiting to be witnessed, even if it is as ordinary and gritty as a row of abandoned shopping carts or an oversized dumpster.
I want to know my neighborhood rather than just drive through it on my way to other specific places.
So far, it has been among my favorite adventure travels of all.
Try it where you live. You may be surprised.
And for today, that's it for my Storyaday!
Julie Jordan Scott has been a Life & Creativity Coach, Writer, Facilitator and Teleclass Leader since 1999. She is also an award winning Actor, Director, Artist and Mother Extraordinaire. She was twice the StoryTelling Slam champion in Bakersfield. She teaches a teleclass/ecourse "Discover the Power of Writing & Telling Engaging, Enlightening Stories" which begins again April 19, 2012. Find details by clicking this link.
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