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photo by Sheri Dixon

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Small Things, Quiet Thoughts

And the clock chimes the hour.

Not the one I usually hear- the slender and elegant "grandmother clock" that we inherited from Ward's mom, somberly chiming every quarter hour 24/7/365 (unless I forget to wind it once a week...)

This one is visible from the hotel room I'm writing from- 7th floor of the Hotel Lawrence in downtown Dallas. I'm here for 4 days of continuing education training for work- necessary and mostly interesting, challenging and mostly fun.

While most folks are staying places like the Omni, Hyatt or Best Western, I chose on purpose the Lawrence- walking distance from the convention center but a world away.

The Lawrence was built in 1925 and has been lovingly renovated. The rooms are small but serviceable, the bathroom a darling whimsy of fish tiles and deco glass sink, mirror and shelving. The staff is friendly and helpful, the bed appointed with more than enough pillows. It costs less than half of a night at one of the "other" hotels and offers more than double the character.

Attached to the Lawrence is the Founder's Grill and I've had absolutely delicious dinners there last night and tonight. The Grill is in the same building, so the same vintage and has also been renovated- brick walls, mahogany ceilings, curved and polished bar, oak floor- not a speck of carefully purchased faux elegant "atmosphere-inducing" interior decoration. The place is the Real Deal and tries to be nothing it's not.

The boys brought me here on Thursday, dropped me off for the first set of meetings and then went and did fun stuff- the Aeronautics Museum and the Art Museum. They picked me up and spent the night here with me. Yesterday morning I went back to meetings and they drove home, leaving me here in this strange family-free void that leaves me feeling like I'm trying to function without one of my senses- I can do it, but not very well.

The Lawrence offers a free driver to anywhere within 3 miles, but I've chosen to walk to and from the convention center. I'm not used to being inside so much, and really not used to being in air conditioning so much. I feel trapped, can't breathe deeply, and quite frankly my ass falls asleep from sitting about 90% more than I'm used to.

And I admit to finding, somewhere on the walk to and fro, a patch of lawn to sink my bare feet into, a tree to literally hug and inhale.

A little exercise I do mostly unconsciously at home is to "touch" each element of Nature mentally- it centers me and grounds me throughout the day.

Air.

Earth.

Water.

All of them within sight, hearing, touch, at home. Even from inside the house, our windows are open- outside is inside and inside is outside.

Yesterday I sat where there was also a fountain, and the soft breeze rippled the water as I wriggled my toes in the grass.

Air.

Earth.

Water.

Today was a different little park. Grass. Sculptures. Trees.

Air.

Earth.

Oops.

No water.

Hmmm...

So I decided to concentrate just on the other two.

The leaves above me danced and whispered and gave form to air.

The grass beneath me cushioned my feet bottoms without separating them from the earth.

I breathed in. I breathed out.

In. Out. In. Out.

Air.

Earth.

*Pshhhhhhhhhhh*

Hunkered down in the soil around the trees, unseen by me, the irrigation sprinklers suddenly and silently sprang into action- working their strange magic of raining out of the ground.

Water.

I smiled and made my way back to the Lawrence, had an excellent dinner, and returned to my room- no TV needed- I can watch a never-ending parade of life from the 7th floor window.

Convention center to the right, gleaming stark and metallic.

The Grassy Knoll to the left.

Union Station behind, where I'll be catching the train home tomorrow.

Old courthouse directly ahead, luxuriously organic red stone and tile with the elegantly-lit clock tower.

And the clock chimes the hour.




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