I am not sure what is faster at this point of the walk, my pace or my heartbeat. I check my watch and I am already three miles into a hike that I am yet to determine how long it will last. The city is mine this early in the morning, empty like a movie set, and I the only actor on its stage. The performance is ongoing, but today I am playing the wandering wonderer, a man set out to find a place that doesn’t exist, but enjoying the time trying to get there.
I am alone on this hike today, but have brought a companion before. What my mouth lacks in conversation with another, is made up with the conversation I am having with myself. Sometimes I walk blocks without a single thought, and other stretches I have already composed the world’s greatest book. I dance back and forth between thinking and listening, for one drives the other, and I allow them to take their turns leading the dance in my head as I allow fate to lead the dance of my feet in the city.
The homeless man doesn’t bother me as I cross the street. He knows me, and I him. We are not friends, but we are not enemies either, simply, two people that occupy the same area at the same time. We have crossed paths before, so that is why there is no cause for alarm, on either one of our parts. He is either standing or laying down when I have passed him before, camped out at his normal spot just outside the downtown library, outside a small courtyard that is near the Park Harvey. He is the second person I have come in contact with this morning, and I am okay with that, I like having the city to myself on days like this. I am a creature of habit, except when I’m not, and this is one of those mornings, the kind when I am doing something I normally do, but just in a different way. More specifically, a different route.
The sky is now wanting to join me in my walk. It has decided that the dark grey that it has been displaying all this time is ready for a change of pace as well. I welcome the company. The earth is now opening up to me, the way the city already has. The sky is now turning a slight shade of blue, the kind of blue you think about when you think about your childhood, not the radiant blue we see as adults. This blue is more innocent, more shy, like the blue of the robin’s egg, just before the bird is born, and learns to fly into the deeper blue sky. The blueness is familiar, but I am always surprised at how beautiful it is when it arrives, always thankful for the chance to see it, like an old friend. I am not alone now in my walk, hope has joined me.
Hope is blue, like the ocean, that has carried us to new lands and new opportunities. We have looked out onto the horizon, and seen the place where the blue ocean and the blue sky meet. And that horizon line, that is the place where reality lives, where two dreams combine, two hopes come together and form the most perfect line in the universe. Hope is the sky that we look up to and see the face of God, smiling down on us radiantly with the warmth from the bright sun. We look to the blue sky, high above the chimney tops and hope one day we too can fly like the blue birds, somewhere over the rainbow. We have learned to weather the rain, to withstand the storm, for we know, if we rise far enough above the dark clouds that beat us down, the blue sky is always there. Hope is blue, like jazz, and I am surrounded by it right now.
The sun is coming along, and the sky remains baby blue, This sky is smaller, between the tallness of the buildings as I waltz between them, but lovable. The city is the perfect backdrop for this part of my hike, the one I take often, down the streets and around corners of places I have been a million times. But this blueness today surprises me, like I am seeing my face in the mirror for the first time, even after all these years. I travel by the places that I have been before, the memories of those days are far behind me, and yet I will return to those places and make new ones. The blueness is hugging me now, like an old friend as we walk down memory lane, on our way to make new memories in the old places. Perhaps that is why I come here, and walk among the concrete giants and asphalt prairies, to see a world different than the one I grew up in, where green was the biggest color on the palette. But the blue was still there. It always will be.
Green was reality. Green was tangible and touchable. The grass that was mowed and the trees that were climbed. Green was about life, but blue, was about hope, even then when I looked up at the sky as a kid and dreamed of future.
But I return to the blue, I take my brush and whatever bad thought I have I replace it with a new one, a blue on, like the limitless sky above me. The buildings block my view, but I know that it is there, I know where the sky is, and how far it reaches. Although I don’t see the ocean I know it too still exists, with all its power and serenity. I know this because I have seen their blueness, I have held my hand in the air to the sky and touched my feet in the wetness of the water. And that is the thing about hope, when it is in front of you, you don’t see it. It is not until it seems a million miles away that you see the blue, and wish you could hold it in your hand.
My walk is over, at least for this day. The baby blue has now changed, it is getting on with its day, and I must too. I thank the universe for the dance, and it obliges me. I have seen old memories with old friends while on this walk, and look forward to the new ones that come along. My head is clear, but full of new words, and new stories to tell, of old places. I am hopeful, because I have seen it with my own eyes, the blueness of the world, and I know that no matter how far away hope feels, it is always at the end of my grasp, always on the wind, kissing my face.