12 October 2010

at a tire shop and in a state of gratitude

In a twist of life imitating art, I found myself sitting in a tire shop this morning.

If a tire shop doesn't sound particularly arty, you should read this short story I wrote a week ago. It's about sitting in a tire shop.

Granted, I was sitting in a tire shop when I wrote the story, so maybe this is more a twist of living the same day over and over, just like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

Except that a week ago, I was in Hurricane, Utah, and this morning, I was on Main Street in Wheaton, Illinois. I was in the midst of suburbia instead of in a desert.

This morning, I sat outside while waiting for the nice tire man to check my front passenger-side tire, which I had diagnosed with a very slow leak. Well, it started as a slow leak, but the thing was picking up speed. As in—I filled it up to the appropriate 30psi on Sunday, and it had already dropped to 25. That can't be right. Even I, a girl who didn't know that my car came equipped with a tire wrench until last year, know that that can't be right.

And so, after a run where I literally stopped {not figuratively at all} to stare at the changing leaves {so many colors all at once}, I was sitting outside the tire shop on Main.

You know you're in suburbia when you choose to sit outside instead of in the waiting room—and people driving down Main Street give you strange glances from behind the rolled-up windows in their SUVs. As if you're painted green. Or carrying a hippie protest sign left over from the Vietnam era. Or driving a bigger SUV than they are.

But it was a particularly autumnal morning, as I'd already noticed, and I had 8 hours in a cubicle ahead of me.  I needed the outside.

I read The Practice of the Presence of God, this book by a monk from the 1600s, which I'm supposed to be reading for my small group, but I didn't make it much past this:

"One day [Brother Lawrence] saw a tree stripped of its leaves, and considered that sometime afterward these leaves would appear again, followed by flowers and fruit. He then received a lofty awareness of the providence and power of God that never left him."

My reaction: shut up, Brother Lawrence. {Is it okay to tell a monk to shut up, even if he's dead? I don't know. I don't have much experience with monks and nuns, unless you count The Sound of Music, and I don't think you should.}

I wanted Larry to shut up because that's precisely what I'd been thinking on my run this morning—after my stunned pause to stare at the colors.

I know it wasn't an original thought. I'm not the first one to realize that seeing nature's beauties can quickly lead to a state of gratitude. I mean, that's what a lot of hymns are about, and I don't get angry when I sing:

When I look down
From lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook
And feel the gentle breeze;
Then sings my soul,
My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art!

But this morning outside the tire shop, there was Larry, saying what I wanted to say, but saying it better, and saying it in 1666. I can't beat that.  My country didn't even exist then, and there he was, saying profound monk-ish things.

I got over it. The tire man came out of the shop to tell me that I had a little bit of corrosion on the rim and that he'd fixed it. I asked a lot of questions about oxidation and nodded at the answers, as if I understood everything he was saying.

I drove to work humming "How Great Thou Art" and considering that the golden, red, orange, and green leaves would soon all be the same color: brown and on the ground, soon to be covered by snow—and waiting for the spring.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails