It is maybe a strange thing to say, but I love my commutes. I happen to live along a bus-route that has direct connections from a bus stop right outside my home, dropping me off nearly to the doorstop of my office building (if a 76-story building can have a doorstop). On the better days I wake up early to a 10K run, come home to a french press pot of coffee and homemade cereal and hot shower, only to get myself tucked into a 20- to 30-minute ride into downtown on the metro bus. On my way to work I sit with a good old-fashioned, bound-and-printed book. It is quite simply a commute that in and of itself I love. But there is often one spot along the commute that makes me forget it all.
I come upon this spot just as we reach the bridge. Maybe it is the change in the sound going from different grades of road, but I instinctually look up from whatever I am reading. I will turn my head eastward looking out over the waters between Lake Washington and Lake Union, University of Washington sitting along the northern banks all the while the Cascade mountains sit stoic, immovable and resolute as the Sun rises up and over its granite shoulders. Once my eyes catch those crags I can no longer hold myself back in my seat, my eyes are fixed on that distant horizon and all else dissolves away. I can feel myself losing the grip on the open pages of my book, I can hear the rough paper slipping from under my fingertips and I know all but helplessly that even as the book closes in my lap I will not look down to attend to it. I have no strength of will in my body to turn away–I look transfixed to whatever is without the bus.
I can smell light. I can taste moisture. They rest solidly, comfortably in my nostrils. They are strangers I have never introduced myself to; I know them, they do not know me. I feel neither remorse or embarrassment to come upon them so brazenly, they, snowy mountain and waking morn’ Sun, in their lover’s truss. I feel a love seeping into my roots, a love that is not shaken or disturbed by the silly machinations of this simian civilization–our civilization–gone awry. Steel girders flash in front of my face, reminding me that man is the intruder here, our time is measured to the takt of our daily lives, a furious set of movements from one moment to the next all the while out there it is timeless–not merely forever but beyond the very measure of time: eternal. I futilely exert my will on the universe, asking it to make the snake that is space and time swallow its own tail, warp its own topology back onto itself to become a Mobius strip and we in the bus the ant traveling its spine. I sit for but moments in the lighted shadows of these lovers and I feel here myself expanding into those lovers resting at my horizon.
I walk to the very edge of that horizon. I am alone here at the edge of all senses and sense. In front of me stands cold darkness of future-nows-that-may-or-may-not-come. There is no longer any refuge in turning back and returning safely to my seat and my book and my commute. Forward then. I thrust forward my hand, it settles on a doorknob. The door yields to my whim, and I stumble into an infinite space inside of myself pinched between who I am and who I might be. I float adrift there while a pool of ignorance soaks into me deeply. I know I cannot subsume myself wholly to this ignorance, nor the ignorance fully erase my boundaries; we so exist that the other might find definition: there is no sunrise without mountain, nor mountains to gaze upon without light. The door closes behind me and I am left in my ignorance. Here I am now, I think, but I am not alone. She is also here, my lover, whoever she is, whoever she will be; she whom I have loved and do love and will love. I cannot see her, I cannot know her. But when I do finally meet her, whoever she may be, may it be here in this moment between moments on this way across a bridge in the morn that we find each other, define each other and are defined by each other.
This is why I love my morning commune.