A Better Future, a More Fragrant Past

Currently, I’m sitting with a full belly and a warm cup of coffee, laptop in my lap. I’m offline. Sitting with my back to the hill behind me, face to the small crowd here at this otherworldly coffee shop near Zilker Park. It’s a different crowd here. Different kind of people than I usually see at Mojo’s, and I kind of like it. It’s something different. Somewhere different. This place has an incredible patio; all wood, currogated steel and fiberglass roof, lit by christmas lights, halogen sconces and candles. Nice vibe here. Very nice vibe.

Behind me, as mentioned, is a hillside. The night air is coming down off of it and the neighborhood behind it bringing its night moisture and the scent of nature in spring along with it. It’s so amazing; it’s like I’m able to smell for the first time in my life. I love this season. It’s all so incredibly fragrant, almost unbearable. The other night I came down here and hung out, tried to work on a little code, and kept getting sidetracked by the scent, the strong floral scents, of the trees, bushes, plantlife finally coming out of slumber. And here lately, excepting the seasonal sneeze fits, I’ve been smelling more of the things that I haven’t paid attention to in years past.

I had heard that this happens, but I didn’t expect it to be like this; but a month and a half of non-smoking has returned the ability to smell back to me. The olfactory area of the brain is nuzzled against the hippocampus, which is the part responsible for the initiation and recall of memories; memory is strongly tied to the sense of smell. Perhaps that’s why much of the past eight years of my life have been a blur; there’s been little to tie those memories together, little to make them shine. Now? Oh my god, the memories of my life pre-smoking are coming back in fits, spurts, landslides. My times at Ouachita, my days and nights out on the river bottoms, the back fields, the forest, the football field, hanging out near the river, the gazebo, the night walks around town — it’s all coming back. And it’s so incredible. So peaceful. So caused by the simple, intangible ability to smell.

Don’t ever take that for granted.

With it being springtime, and with my making an attempt, and actually desiring, to live a better life, I’m strongly wanting to get a bicycle. There are times when I want to walk, or run, or move forward very quickly under my own power. You may or may not understand the personal empowerment that happens when something so simple as walking happens; imagine how biking feels. As I remember, from when I rode regularly, I feel better, my outlook is better. I’ve been making efforts to find myself a bike for riding to work, around the neighborhood, to any of my coffee shop hangouts, to friends’ houses, etc. I will still have my car, definitely, but I won’t be totally dependent on it. It has its uses, and I totally love my car, but there are days, especially here lately, where I want a bike, and I want one real bad. Y’know? I’ve been without a working bike since 1995, and it’s high time I got my lungs, and my legs, back. This sedentary lifestyle, literally, is killing me. I have to do something about it. Any suggestions on where, what, and how much for a bike will be appreciated.

Lately, I have been going through a gradual reevaluation of my life. I don’t have a ten year plan, let alone a ten week plan. Those aren’t a goal of mine, but I do have the future to look at. I hate to feel my own mortality when I look down the road, but it’s there; anything I can look at to get my gaze off of that end is a welcome relief. But the reevaluation: somewhere in the past three years, things went south. When I moved here, to Austin, I was so totally full of hope, full of peace, full of the knowledge that I had done The Right Thing by moving here to this city. I know, in my heart, that I’ve done that. I’m here where I need to be, where I can make a difference in a larger group of people’s lives, where I can make my own life just that much better. Well, somewhere along the road, that stopped happening. I fell out of love for life. I started having panic attacks in September of 2001. My health, my heart, my head, they all started going south. My Joi de Vivre disappeared. This is wrong. This is so wrong. So I’m knocking around some ideas, making some considerations, bringing back some memories of the way things where, they way they were going to be, to see if I can get some good perspective on this. It’s going to take a little while, going to take a little inner drive to do it, but I’ll get back there. I’ll get back to the hope that I had. Stayed tuned in.

Right now though, in the room to my left, past the huge picture window, is a local band. I don’t know who they are, but their music has a kind of country feel, a very Texas feel to it. Still, it’s rather nice. Once I heard it, the particular sound of it, I had no choice but to take my headphones off to soak it in.

I think I just found a piece of that perspective I’ve been seeking. Live music; written by people who feel, played by people who care. Joy of life.

Published by Shawn

He's just this guy, you know?