Letter R – Reality and beyond

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There is a fun side to an alternative reality. I like to live on the edge of it sometimes. That’s why I write. I like to look down a narrow dirt trail and wonder how many people walked there before me. How many footsteps and how many years did it take to carve out this path? Who were they? Where were they going? Did they carry hollowed canoes to the river? Was it a shortcut to town? Was it a path to freedom?

Depending on who my companion is, I can elaborate a life story for these imaginary dirt trailpeople – joys and sorrows included. My friend would say, “yes, and…” to complete my narrative. One of my siblings would say, can’t we just walk without you making things up? Peaceful walks in quiet reflection, engrossed in the sights and sounds are one of my favorite things to do. However, there is a time for everything under the sun, and sometimes, I want to go beyond what we can see with our eyes. As a side note, remember it’s important to choose travel companions wisely to enjoy the moment fully.

When my sisters were young, and the mood was right, they could spend hours “talking” to our mutt, Victor. Victor was some kind of a shepherd mix and quite a storyteller. He would tell them how his day went – who stopped by the house, what he saw each time he went out to “do his business,” what extra treats he got, what he thought Mom was cooking for dinner that made his mouth water. Sometimes he would complain that Fred, the stray cat, had come into through the kitchen window to brag about his adventures in the alley and the mouse that got away. The girls at about six or seven years old, obviously knew I was talking for Victor, even though I never developed the skills of a ventriloquist to throw my voice in his direction. I was almost ten years older, and yet, we managed to entertain each other regardless as Victor sat between us loving all the attention.

Sometimes I would live vicariously through Fred, the stray. I learned to love cats with Fred, despite my dad’s superstitious apprehensions. Fred was big for a cat, furry, gray and quite independent. He would roam the back alleys of our city freely with a swagger and without fear. I would wonder how far his cat feet could carry him. Where did he go and what did he see? Did he stop at other homes? What did other families name him? Most days he would only stop in for a short while to eat. In the winter or hot summer days, he would stay longer to keep warm or cool off. Those days before he took off again, he would rub against us one by one as if to say “thanks”. One time he came back with cuts and scrapes. We tried to keep him in and off the streets, but as soon as he was strong enough, he was wailing at the window to be let out. At times he was gone for days, and one day he never returned. Unfortunately, there was never a shortage of alley cats in our neighborhood, and soon Fred was replaced by Snagglepus and then Mister Magoo.

Not too long ago I was at one of those Brews, Jazz and Funk Festivals at the park by the river. As the tribute band played well-known favorites, a small, lone figure of a dancer rocked and rolled her way to the front of the stage. With her ripped shorts, bracelets, and tattoos up her arm, she personified the saying “dance as if no one was watching.” She was easily in her 70s, but she had obviously transcended time, and everything else around her didn’t exist. She was definitely in the zone and inspired others to step out. Soon she was surrounded by people of all ages letting the music take control. When the music stopped, she was visibly exhausted, but I caught that big smile that slipped across her face. She had a cosmic air about her. Who was she? How many concerts in the park had she attended? Was she a musician herself? In my mind her name was Carole, and she sang and played with the band.

I like to stretch my mind beyond what my eyes can see. It’s great for problem-solving and relationship building because it helps me to have an open mind to see alternative beginnings and endings. As I continue to blog, I’ll share some of the stories of my alternate reality. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I have making them up and perhaps we’ll learn few things about us along the way.

R is for Reality, the alternative kind.

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