Saturday — a quick trip to the downtown library, a building crammed with knowledge and entertainment as well as a daytime refuge to many homeless souls. Then off to explore a new outdoor market.
I love the city. Can’t imagine being away from the intoxicating smell of exhaust fumes, the cacophony of autos, sirens and church bells chiming the hour. After many a rainy Saturday, the sky is Florida blue, the sun shines benignly, tempered by a soft breeze and low humidity.
Early April paradise!
The produce the farmers parade looks pretty sad, but then the merchants don’t appear to be farmers. Wilted herbs, stunted red peppers nestled next to overgrown green cucumbers and giant, seed-filled zucchinis. Suddenly I’m surprised by perfect plump mushrooms bedded beside crisp, green snow peas. My mouth waters as I imagine the enticing aroma of the peas and mushrooms sautéing with sweet onions, grated ginger and a dash of roasted sesame oil. A few dollars change hands. Supper is solved.
As I sit surveying the scene, my senses are pleasantly piqued with a wonderful mix of orchid candles and handmade patchouli soap. I suspect I will have to have some of each before I leave.
Indulged myself! Hazelnut iced coffee and a warm fresh, buttery croissant lightly stuffed with caramelized onions and topped with poppy seeds. Probably 1,000 calories or more. Better walk an extra mile or two today.
Live music across the way lifts the spirit. The fountains in the center of the square are bubbling up and a few adventurous children dart in and out. I wonder where I put the slides I took here a couple of years ago for a class assignment. Great candid shots of a group of kids from a foster home clowning around while cooling off in the fountains on a very hot, humid Sunday afternoon. Worth looking for.
Lots of flowers and plants. Gorgeous orchids. Actually, the flowers and plants steal the show. It would be nice to have local, organic produce for sale. There are interesting artisanal breads and colorful ethnic salsas and a couple of coffee stands run by a mother and son with prices to put Starbucks to shame.
Young and old, fat and thin, black and white. The yuppies, the guppies, and even the old mullets, swarm around the square competing for walking space with a group of foraging pigeons. Little red legs, iridescent green neck feathers and amber beady eyes pecking away at whatever crumbs they find upon the ground. I pull apart small pieces from the end of my croissant and toss them out to the avian crowd. They come from clear across the square for a few small morsels of bread, then rise en masse, as they leave for another crumb sighting, startling dozing seniors resting on the scattered benches.
I reluctantly gather my things and prepare to leave, but not before I take one more turn around the square.
Finding these notes from six years ago reminded me how easy it is to find pleasure in the little things in life regardless of social standing, finances or location. Whether living in a big city, medium-sized town, or tiny village; single, married, widowed, divorced, young or old. We need to get outside and enjoy the riches Mother Nature offers. Stroll in a park, hike in the woods, check listings for art festivals, outdoor fairs and craft shows. Soak up the beauty in life — it’s one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves. Get some fresh air and sunshine.
Breathe deeply, smile widely and continue to manifest . . .