Taking the trash out today, I was inspired to think of something else. That is, a sense of wellness swelled within me—a swell, welling, swelling wellness, if you will—very much unrelated to my actual occupation of the moment. Which was taking out the trash—walking down the steps to the parking area for our condo and across a hundred feet or so of grayscale asphalt, stained prettily here and there with swirls of colors from sources not immediately apparent or, for this particular narrative, germane. At the terminus of my little walk is a lime-green dumpster. (Also not germane: dumpster, once Dumpster©, has lost its legal trademark protection in the United States. RIP.)
Although I don’t recall a conscious realization of the fact—in fact, it occurs to me just now—there was a plastic tray of blueberries past their prime residing in the particular plastic trash bag that I carried. And that, I again just now realize, is germane.
Because my welling feeling of swellness, at the bottom of the steps, blossomed into a vivid mental odyssey. First, I sensed that I was happy in that moment. And just as quickly I felt myself to be a berry. Not any particular species of berry; just a plump, happy berry. And with each step, out from under the carport and across the asphalt toward the dumpster, I felt the happiness grow.
The sun was on my face. It was warm. And I was a happy, happy berry. And as you might imagine, as a berry becomes happier, it swells. Its skin tightens and it feels an increase in the volume of juicy liquid within its boundaries. As the sun continues to shine, it celebrates the flowing air around its curvaceous pulchritude, its joyful rotundity, gleefully trading carbon dioxide for oxygen. With each and every step, joyfully.
There was also a deeper understanding, in the back of my berry mind, that as I swelled, my skin grew thinner and thinner. It was a joyful deeper understanding, but a sort of cautionary joy. Cautionary joy within unalloyed joy.
As I approached the dumpster, I imagined all the people I know or have known, in the entire world as I’ve known it, standing around me, equally joyful. Despite the fact that they were, indeed, people and not berries. We all knew what was coming, and under the bright sun, which appeared to be joyfully preoccupied with photosynthesizing all over the place, we reached the dumpster.
I opened the lid. I tossed in the trash bag. And I witnessed in amused awe a generous explosion of berry juice as I spewed my berriness merrily upon all onlookers. And the attendant dumpster. And a portion of the parking lot.
Here’s where it gets weird. The normal reaction of people sprayed with berry juice probably would amount to something like perturbed. More or less perturbed. But no. In my little berry-walk rumination, the crowd’s response aligned with the simple, and perhaps simple-minded, celebration that flowed through me in my time as a berry. Covered in berry juice, all the faces around me smiled and laughed. Rejoiced, actually. It was nature, I thought them thinking, and nature can be sticky. And produce stubborn stains in many fabrics. But no one was pissed off. Everyone was happy.
And that was kind of weird. OK, the whole thing was weird. But fun. And unexpected.
And while searching for images, I found this photo of a young Keanu Reeves:
Funny thing is, at the place I found it, I’m pretty sure they didn’t know it was Keanu Reeves.
Tune in soon for my ongoing adventures in taking out the trash! Next episode: Lizards! Meanwhile, be well and be swell.