Tuesday, August 4, 2009
I am blessed with ninety minute lunch-breaks on Tuesdays and Thursday afternoons, and though I made the hike to Maizuru Castle park as I usually do, today I chose a spot under a grove of trees on the upper level. The shade was cool, and I ate my tuna and rice looking out at the northern mountains that rise up from the city without a single smear of human habitation. I was reading an old copy of Steinbeck's The Red Pony; and the mid-afternoon heat, natural isolation, and graceful prose style reminded me of a time when I was paid to sit in the shade with a camping chair and a novel. (That is, until I let people's judgments get to me.) I wondered what lay beyond the mountains, and took off my floppy dress shoes as a cool breeze blew through the crown of the castle. In that moment, all the official meeting etiquette, corporate hierarchy, phony friendliness, and renewal percentages of my routine melted away, and I was a Lake Host again.