The struggle of living requires each of us to try to create an oasis for ourselves, where even for a few scant minutes we can find some respite. Driving home, especially on a Friday night, I am keenly aware of what seem to me to be places of solace -- puddles of light trickling out from a garage or barn, a snatch of music, a wide porch lit with candles, the red glow of a cigarette, a gang of kids leaning around the open hood of a mint car, some house's interior glimpsed through a window, full of books and warm light. An oasis could even be just in some book or in a song.
Tonight I remembered to stop observing from the periphery, like a bird in a winter storm watching the door of a warm cottage open for a moment to admit a welcome guest, and find my own peace. Curled up with a copy of the magazine Parabola (www.parabola.org), tiki torches and smudge pots casting a flickering light on my back porch, citronella odors conjuring memories of childhood, a glass of excellent Ommegang beer at hand, I felt buoyant. The moon is almost full, and a couple of yowling cats chased eachother across the lawn of the old stone church on the other side of the street, presaging Halloween. Can't wait for the holiday.