Clearing Sunday

It’s Sunday morning. I wake up in a jolt. This is the untouchable hour of the morning, when the only sounds are those of sirens and garbage trucks. Since I was little, I’ve imagined working as a sanitation engineer (is that what we’re calling them these days?) to be peaceful. You grasp onto the truck and go from can to can. Handle literal junk –  preferable to some of the garbage that’s presented to us day-today.

At dawn, I’m free, wrapped in forgotten dreams, stored with potential energy. My sinuses are congested, and I gasp for air. This has happened three times. I decide to listen to my mother’s instructions she’d given the morning before, and so I sterilize a nedi-pot, fill it with distilled water, and let it float in a double boiler to get warm.

The spout of the nedi-spot meets my nostrils, head tilted. There is so much pressure. It has no direction. Does pressure have direction? (Googled it: need to talk to one of my engineer pals, as I am still confused in how the physics of this relate to my metaphor.) The reluctance of my sinus junk. I laugh at myself. To document the moment, I attempt a Tik-Tok. I look in the mirror and think I like my mother in her congested state (we Jews are cursed with seasonal allergies).

I move to my living room/kitchen/gym/office/chapel/grocery store of a common area and look around at the space – stuffed. Belongings out of place. The space unable to breathe. I conclude my own breathing is a prerequisite to that of my physical space. I sit on my yoga mat to meditate. The mat is placed – I estimate – about halfway between the five yard span of a wall and the window. There’s a mirror against the wall. I see my own reflection and that of the outside world my back is turned to. The courtyard of my building where neighbors pass by. Last night, my new neighbor friend Jerry cooked a New York strip steak and shared. While I was eating on my balcony, a group of young men in black and gray streetwear sat in the courtyard, eating burgers they’d taken out from Red Cow. They leave. One comes back after having left to clean the small mark they had made. Jerry thanked him. The young man said, “Of course. It’s not mine. It’s ours,” and went inside. I stare back at my reflection and turn 180 degrees to face the courtyard.

I roll my neck and surrender. I practice yoga and open what I need to. My hips. My heart. My sinuses still congested; I flash back to a memory of my childhood pediatrician Dr. Eisenberg massaging my sinuses. I then massage my face for 30 minutes with tender pressure, pushing gently. There is release.

I proceed to handle my space. The dishes. Post-it notes scattered – how did I think so many passing thoughts were noteworthy? My space is littered with thoughts that in time become immaterial. I brew a cup of Gypsy Cold Care tea. The quote on the tea bag was one of Aeschylus and reads, “From a small seed a mighty trunk may grow.” Dope.

The dishes await me. Hot water passes through, in-between fingers and stings over-washed hands. Grassy and chapped. Nails unpainted for the first time in I don’t know how long. The water runs; sink fills; garbage disposal dissolves what’s passed; unneeded. The dishes are finished – for now. I’m hungry. French toast with Friday’s challah? No, this morning I want an omelet – with onion and mushrooms and sprouts. Layers, magic, rebirth.

A final task: clear the kitchen table/standing desk/mail drop spot. I remove Post-its, mail, and a last obstacle: hardened maple syrup on unfinished wood. I chip it away.

I open a package my father sent that I retrieved yesterday. In it: kitchen tools and two bottles of wine. People have been giving me a lot of wine. I catch myself thinking, do I seem that stressed? And then, no! It’s not about me. People are kind and wine is the evening’s nectar. Most exciting is the whisk that came in the package. I employ it to scramble eggs.

I wedge an orange the wicked sharp chef knife my father sent. I turn on Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt. A piece I used to play on the piano for my grandfather that I rediscovered just a few weeks ago when I decided to delve back into classical music. I had Googled “Norweigan composer in honor of the Nordic influence in Minnesota. I obliged by the first search result. When I first played it for my grandfather on the piano he said, “In English it’s ‘Morning Mood.’” He used to start his day with an orange. Pellets of tangy juice, ready to be bitten into the way an orangutan eats fruit.

It’s eight thirty. It’s time for a walk.

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