It was much too early in the morning for my liking, but there I stood in front of the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, preparing to get a ridiculously unhealthy coffee drink that would have normally been far too expensive for me, but I had friends that worked there. I also had designs on a crisco-ladened Debbie's Delights lemon scone, which I would have to actually pay for. My mind was set, and I stepped around the man with the high pressured water gun who was blasting the bricks, when a strange cherry hued glow caught my attention from far up State Street.
The morning was particularly foggy to such an extent that the entire walk downtown provided only enough visibility to see a block ahead at a time. I loved it. Heavy mist settled on my glasses and the moist air felt revitalizing and soothed some of the repercussions from the previous night's drinking. 6:45 AM in the morning is the time for thoughts and reflections. There was no need to play the games of avoidance; very few people wandered about at such an early hour. Cars and noise were few...with the exception of the water jet street cleaners, but then their work added to the fog, providing more tranquility to the looming chaos that would steadily rise as the city awakened. Every morning should be like this. But, there in the distance was the glow and despite my poor vision it appeared to be moving.
Two of the coffee shop employees joined me in the entryway, and we stared up the street at the odd glow in the fog and agreed that it was not just moving, but that it was quite possibly burning. The glow was swinging, back and forth, back and forth, and a figure materialized from the obscurity of the fog and an intense billowing smoke poured out of the burning object. A faint trace scent of burnt herb began to reach our noses, but we could not place the smell; it was, however, pleasant.
I do not know the man's name, but I have seen him around State Street for years. He is a short in stature, Asian man dressed in all white robes, sandals, with a long beard and long hair; he had a startling resemblance to Jesus. He clutched in his hand a rope with a tightly bundled burning orb of sage at the end that swung like a pendulum and it was producing a tremendous amount of aromatic smoke. Despite our stares, his focus remained unbroken from his destination and he merely nodded his head as he passed by with not a word, a slight smile creasing his lips.
He continued on his journey, and the sun began to peel back the fog; the city began to awaken. With my coffee and scone in hand, I headed toward the music store, the strong smell of sage still prominent. The scent lingered and danced in the air for hours afterwards.