quarter

Circular, cold coin. Silver-gray, perhaps like the hair of the man who’s side profile adorns Heads. George Washington quarter. Twenty-five cents. Quarters are precious and somehow not just more valuable in currency, but also more valuable in moments where you need a coin to use. Parking meters, needing an additional dollar for the tip, scratch-off tickets, coin flip, bubblegum, vending machine that won’t accept your crumpled dollar in pursuit of some salty snack. The eagle on the backside, wings spread. The metallic drop as the coin falls out and rolls around the floor. Holding a quarter tightly in your fist until it becomes warmed by your body heat.

The last time I used a quarter, I was likely paying for parking before yoga. In the municipal lot behind the studio, there is a machine were you enter in your space number and pay for parking. I usually put in 3 quarters to cover an hour and a half. There was a moment though, perhaps a summer or two past, where I wouldn’t pay for parking. Got away with it too. I thought no one checked, the system just meant to get money from out-of-towners / non-locals. But I came out of yoga and saw there was a ticket placed under the windshield wiper of the car. $24.00 – which honestly was a bargain for all the times I had parked and not paid. But I learned my lesson, and pay now. I immediately drove over to the police department and paid the fine. I still have the fading receipt though; In the event they say I didn’t pay – Because I paid cash.

Quarter has in one fourth.  I used to have a Sesame Street plate that was divided into three sections. Although those are thirds, I haven’t thought able that plate in a long time. I think Cookie Monster was on the half – Okay so it wasn’t technically thirds. It was a half and two fourths = three sections. I know some kids sometimes have an issue with foods touching other foods, hence the divider, perhaps. But I don’t ever remember having that problem. I really didn’t care about that. Peas touching mashed potatoes was find with me. It was all yummy and delicious. At 25 I was a quarter of a century old. Now, older still.

pallet

Warehouse factory. Grey cement floor stretches on for actual miles. The walls are steel, metal siding. Silver and grey overwhelms. The shelves are stainless steel and stretch up towards the impossible high fluorescent roof at least 100 feet. To subject oneself to that environment is sense-deadening. After awhile, you can’t help but feel totally numb to the neutral enormity of it all. Silence. Except for the hum of the lights. There is a break in this monotony, though. The sound of chugging machinery and beeping can be heard approaching, getting closer and louder. It is a fork lift carrying a heavy load merchandised placed upon saran wrapped pallets. This golden blonde wood is strong, but easily splintered. You have to be careful when touching it. Splinters could find new residence between your thumb and forefinger if you aren’t careful with it. Latticed and constructed to hold great weights. It makes horses and camels obsolete. A team of oxen could not carry this weight. I hear the groan of the forklift take it’s lifted load and place it down in front of these towering industrial shelves. It is fresh cinnamon. The smell is overpowering, yet a welcome change to this constantly workplace blankness. I am suddenly reminded of apple pie, Fireball whisky, and all the sights and smells of Thanksgiving. One of the bags has opened and with my workman’s glove I take out a stick and hold it in my hand. It is lightweight and hollow. Brown, curved bark like a scroll ancient as the written word itself in a way. This spice has been around for centuries. And it has always been tantalizing, crucial. Has never grown old. I imagine myself in the foothills of India, among the farmers carving this bark from the cinnamon tree. I see a lush green landscape that in its beauty, is impossible not to admire. In my dull reality, it is a welcome escape to dive into flights of fancy and fantasy.