The other day, in a comment on Danielle Cross’ blog, Pamela Villars mentioned a writing exercise she’d done where she imagined her perfect day. The idea sparked my imagination. Though Pamela indicated there were to be no limitations allowed, I believe I’ve gone beyond the original intention, but just go with it, okay? Here’s what I came up with.
[Disclaimer: My family is the real center of my life, but for this exercise, I decided to imagine outside my usual box. Also, I dispensed with the mundane tasks required in an actual day.]
I wake on my own … no alarm clock, cat meow, train whistle, car honk, siren, lawn mower, or door knock. I stretch and every joint aligns, every muscle flexes perfectly. I remember all my dreams from the night before and record them in full detail before rising.
In my sunny kitchen, I breakfast on hot tea and a thick slab of homemade bread, slathered with sweet cream butter and apricot jam. Ah yes, and applewood smoked bacon on the side. As I eat, I watch the hummingbirds at the feeder outside my window.
Then, I pack my canvas bag and grab my walking stick. It’s time to make my way through the woods that surround my cottage. I breathe in the damp, fertile smell. I listen for the hollow rat-a-tat-tat of the woodpecker, the high, sweet trill of the sparrow, the impatient scold of the robin. I cannot resist bending to pluck a bloodroot blossom, and marvel anew at the scarlet sap that flows. I run my hand along the smooth sinew and muscle of an old hornbeam tree and pick a handful of wild blackberries that stain my fingers and delight my tongue.
I continue my tramp through the shadowed woods and emerge onto the ocean beach. I stop for a minute to let my eyes adjust to the sudden glare of sun. I breathe a new air now, moist and salty. I open my bag and drink cool water, then spread my lunch on a boulder: an assortment of cheeses, roasted red pepper strips, crackers, crisp grapes that are a perfect combination of tart and sweet. I read as I eat and read as I sip pinot grigio. I read until the words, and the wine, and the roar and swish of the surf lull me to sleep.
I awake, refreshed, and climb the rocks from the shore. I keep climbing, effortlessly, until I am in a mountain meadow. A endless table set for dinner lies before me and just like magic all the foods I love appear, perfectly cooked, at optimum serving temperature, and never filling so I can taste it all. There is lamb kabob with red peppers and onions on rice pilaf; thin-crust pizza with fresh mozzarella, spicy pepperoni, and whole basil; fried catfish with collards and fried cornbread to soak up the pot liquor; lemon meringue pie, rice pudding, and crème brûlée; hot tea, icy Coke, soft French red, and chilled Pelligrino … and more and more and more.
But best of all are my dinner guests. Feel free to picture yourself there; I’m sharing this part of my perfect day. And kick off your shoes, we’re not at all pretentious. We all speak the same language and no matter the distance between guests, we hear each other with ease.
Among those here at my table you’ll see Anne Tyler, Stephen King, and Frank McCourt; Moses, the Buddha, and guest of honor Jesus; Eddie Vedder, Tori Amos, and Alison Krauss; Meryl Streep, Will Smith, and Joaquin Phoenix; Eddie Izzard and Ellen Degeneres; Leonardo da Vinci, Alphonse Mucha, and Mary Cassatt; John Lennon, Benjamin Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln. And, I think, my Jalal to rest my eyes upon from time to time.
And my special guests you won’t know by name: some men and women who braved the American wilderness from the Appalachians to the Sierra Nevada, and some of the native Americans they encountered along the way.
My guests will clear up history’s mysteries, divulge the secrets of their talents, make us laugh, entertain us with word and song, delight us with spirited debate, and strengthen us with wisdom.
As twilight falls, the fireflies add their sparkle. The air cools, the conversation gradually dies away, and Jesus rises and offers me his arm. We walk across the moonlit meadow and back through the woods. Our footsteps do not falter in the dark; we are lead along the path by some inner knowledge. I ask him all the questions that vex my spirit: did you really say this? what exactly did you mean by this? how am I doing so far in my spiritual journey? Then we arrive at my house; Jesus bids me pleasant dreams and slips away.
And just before I enter my door, I glance up and see the final touch to my perfect day. A shooting star blazes across the sky.
Now, I pass the baton to you. Let your imagination conjure up your perfect day.