Friday, June 24, 2016


Sometimes, they're depleted. The body, for instance, can withstand suffering, or pain, or disease so long before it gives up, and the person in that body gives in. I saw someone today, an acquaintance, someone I like and have not seen for sometime but have thought about, and her reserves are depleted, depleting. I left her feeling drained, more than sad, but sad yes, but more than and less than . . . empty perhaps.

So I did what I often do: I took my camera outside to experience a now, find something beautiful, look at it, try to capture some part of it, and in the process not think, not remember, not wonder, not feel. And I found this.

While I was looking and trying to use my camera so it might match my eyes, I heard a banjo, frailing style, a run of notes picked again and again and again. Someone practicing, someone else getting outside of the self perhaps, entering something beautiful in the making. I wandered to the music, where I found Adam, a new professor here, teaching himself banjo. Political theory is his scholarly interest, so we chatted about Brexit and the implications of national uprisings, but we also talked about teaching, students, folk music, writing, community, the perimeter trail. Before turning home from a chat we both enjoyed, I asked to take his picture and we looked at the snaps together, shook hands, and parted. He played me off, and I left lighter than when I arrived.

Our meeting didn't change anything for the young woman I cried with earlier, it didn't change others' nationalist spirits, it didn't change my ineptness with the camera, but he changed my afternoon, gave me joy, made my step out of the tree canopy lighter as I turned toward home.

And for that, I am grateful.

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