Be Here Now

I’m a Southsider (San Antonio.) Born and raised. For those of you not familiar with San Antonio, the Southside is generally known as “the wrong side of the tracks.” But from my perspective, the Southside is the authentic part of San Antonio. It’s the oldest part, more like a village than part of the fastest growing city in America.

My neighborhood has 200-year-old Pecan Trees. It is the home of “Delicious Tamales,” Riverside Park (the oldest golf course in town, where Teddy Roosevelt trained the Rough Riders), and the best fruteria in town.

My home is 85-years-old and built of solid wood. Three of my neighbors live in homes that are over 100 years old. My next-door-neighbor, Uncle Ernie, is my 78-year-old playmate. We’ve been running buddies for over two years now, ever since I bought my home. And, I have to say, that meeting Uncle is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. On summer nights, you might find us sitting out front in our lawn chairs, watching the cars cruise up and down Roosevelt. Of course, with $4 a gallon gasoline, no one really cruises any more, like they did when I was a youngster. Nowadays, you better go straight from Point A to Point B. Or ride the bus.

We’ve won some big military contracts here in my city recently. Some say we’re “recession proof” now. I don’t worry about it much in my world. With a house that costs less than the vehicles many people drive, I figure I don’t have as far to fall in the event of a rapid decline. Besides, I enjoy life, and never have needed much to be happy.

At any rate, the pace is slow here on the Southside. I don’t notice the “buzz” of electric energy that makes my brain hurt on the Northside. Uncle and I go for walks at one of the missions — San Jose usually, but sometimes San Juan or Espada. We also like to walk on our end of the San Antonio River, which is still uncommercialized for now.

People who walk have learned an important Secret about “simple pleasure.” Runners may get a “runner’s high,” and that’s okay, but they won’t be able to PAY Attention. And Paying attention is THE SECRET to being here now.

When you walk, you get to see amazing things. Once we saw three snakes at three different locations along our journey. Sometimes we meet really interesting people because we’ve stopped to admire their dog or because they’ve asked us for directions (usually tourists staying at a bed-and-breakfast or at one of the outlying hotels who can’t seem to find downtown.)

I could write for hours and days on the topic of paying attention, and probably will. It is the single most important concept to grasp, if you want to learn to live joyously, in my humble opinion.

But for now, I’ll just leave you to your thoughts.

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