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Stop and smell the roses …

Note to self: when the clock reads 4:53 on a Sunday morning, stay in bed. At least pretend you’re trying to sleep. This really isn’t news. Maybe there’s something to the buzz about melatonin.

But by 5:05 the coffee is on, walking shoes laced up and weather radar app checked. It shows rain at some point. 10 minutes later I’m out the door and into the calm darkness.

The calm is pierced along Colony when a heated argument is heard from one of the apartments on the west side of the street. The woman’s voice is louder than the man’s. I wonder what’s worth yelling about at 5:30 in the morning. No doubt the neighbors wonder about it, too.

The weather aside, it’s a tough morning for trash. The sidewalks and curbs are smothered by leaves glittery from moisture. This only serves to hide evil litter. I accept the conditions and will pick up what I can.

There’s plenty of junk that’s still visible; eight or so water bottles, an empty one gallon bottle of motor oil crushed flat, assorted beer cans and liquor bottles, a Zaxbys polystyrene food containers plus a few unmentionables.

So this is the just rewards for walking in the rain - more junk, more trash, more litter.

So this is the just rewards for walking in the rain – more junk, more trash, more litter.

Of course, a light rain begins to fall at precisely the halfway point. My instinct is to pick up the pace but by now I’m sweating and wonder aloud “what’s the point?” The worst that can happen is that rain soaks my Patagonia wind shell. So the cadence goes unchanged.

The home stretch down Sharon View is always quiet. I pass a stand of live oaks along the sidewalk and pause for a moment to listen to the pat-pat-pat of rain drops on leaves. It’s the rough equivalent of stopping to smell the roses. For those few precious seconds, the sidewalk serenity is nice, relaxing and borderline meditative.

Within 10 minutes I’m home, the morning Charlotte Observer is on the stoop, my wet shoes are off and a cupful of coffee is nuked. Two bags containing 7 – 8 pounds of trash are out back to await sorting. I’ll get to them soon enough. But there’s coffee to finish first.

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I was a writer by trade so one would think letters would come easily for me. It is so now, but wasn't always that way. Indeed, the first letter was written the Monday after Ellen started her freshman year in college. For years I've wondered - with no good answers - why I swiveled my office chair toward my computer screen to fire up a word processing document for that first letter. I just don't know. I just did. Perhaps it was the angst of separation or wanting to say things that had gone unsaid at that moment when we parted ways in front of her college dormitory. What was a one-off became habitual. When her brother Reid enrolled in the same college, his name was added to the salutation line. They were kids then and are adults now. No matter. The letter writing habit remains so today. I live in Brevard, North Carolina. I'm well away from where they live and don't see them nearly as often as I'd like. That's why letters, at least to me, fill the void of distance. The pages give me something to say and the space to say it. There is no assurance they read the letters; indeed, I have never asked if they do so. With the pace of their busy lives who could blame them for letting a letter sit unopened? Over time, it has dawned on me that the letters are both communicative - and cathartic. By nature, letters are about the writer; the writer can only write about their situation. Perhaps that is as it should be. It's all about the here and now from one person's perspective.

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