Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Frederick on St. Patrick's Day

I keep watching humanity.

I know.

It's usually seen as awful, and messy,

and absolutely confusing.

I usually walk around town with an eye that sees degeneration,

lewdness, and an inherent sense of vulgarity.

And you would think today,

St. Patrick's Day, with its excuses for insatiable beer-lust

and enticing invitations for bawdy, common intoxication would

stir up the indignant prude within me.

Granted, as I walked toward downtown, the awful green shirts

with their fake bow ties and shiny plastic green beads became more

and more unbearable,

and the very volume of harsh, blatant voices

or gutsy laughs and guffaws at comments like,

"You need to tell us where you left the car, in case you can't remember after this!"

definitely grated against the calm, collected soul inside myself.

But before I reached the materialistic, base groupings of humanity

gathered for their personal pleasures and shameless inebration,

there was a sense I had.

I can't seem to voice it without sounding mystic,

but even as I walked through the people,

my moral core flexing against the jeering thrusts of carnality,

I could feel the intense fragility of their lives.

The historic district has a quiet about it,

something I relate to, like my old soul can feel the history,

the genteel propriety, and sighs in a comfortable relief.

I'm not fooled to think that everyone in such lovely houses

as are lovely as the artifices themselves.

But I tend to imagine it's so, and even as I passed an open door,

loud laughter pumping out of those old wooden casements,

I heard that people were alive.

They were probably drunk, or getting there,

and for that, I was sorry. Not because I thought the alcohol was

a poison to them, but because they found it their reason for joy.

The loud voices of the people on the street kept yelling into me,

pulsing into me,

"I'm trying to prove myself! I'm trying to prove I'm fun! I'm trying!

I'm trying to be someone! I'm trying to forget! I'm trying!"

I'm sitting at the park, watching lovely trees softly lean against the air,

hearing children squealing and dogs barking,

watching people run, and bike, and play football uproariously on the grass.

These people are alive.

I know it's not profound, but. . . it is. Because I don't think they really know it.

Because, even as much as they breathe, and move their limbs,

and flirt, and fall against each other, and scrape their knees,

and drink until their bodies vomit, and yell at each other, and march along

in their sweat suits, and Leprechaun hats, and business suits;

for as much as they beat their bodies in exercise,

or drink themselves out of their sorrows,

or walk their babies in pretty little strollers, and trot along with their

toddlers in their little sneakers and tiaras;

for as much as they live, they do not. And for as much as they do,

they don't realize it.

I feel the pulse of living inside of me: a God-given fibre that generates

a tremor that hums beneath the surface of this humanity.

There's a Life-breath, breathing, breathing, breathing. . .

It shakes up the stolid, unmoving, hardened clay of frozen minds

and tips the warmth of Knowing, and purpose, and desire into

the soul until it seeps into the cracks and corners of thought,

and flesh, and want, and heart.

I'm an outsider looking in.

They keep looking at me. I can feel it. I smile, or don't give eye contact,

but they look. The children especially. They look up at me as if they know something,

or are drawn to something, as if they are closer to knowing what I know than anyone.

I hold secrets they don't know. I know the Mystery.

A group of young boys walked by, maybe ten of them,

and the one-- a tall, chubby, oversized boy-- took the time to slow down as he passed

and very politely say, "It's a nice day, isn't it?"

I smiled and said it is.

One ten-year-old boy out of millions,

but there was that spark.

He knew something of kindness, and goodness, and what it is to exchange

life for life, from person to person.

The air is getting colder; the willow is brightening greener

and the bell tower is chiming the half hour.

I'm cold, but I'm unable to move, poised on the top of this sensation.

I am a Seer. Not in the strangeness of psychic mediums,

but I'm the reality of Knowing-- with the Spirit of God inside that whispers,

coaxes, and opens my eager eyes that I may see.

I peer into Life and it peers back at me. It's as if the Earth,

as if the Life-breath inside creation and humanity, winks and smiles at me

as if to say, "You recognize me, don't you?"

It's as if God smiles to see me seeing Him inside what He has made.

I see Him.

I see Him, and I know Him, and I crave Him more and more

with every taste of life that I get into my being.

I see Him in these people-- I see where He is not,

the absence and the emptiness,

the utter worthlessness of their plight outside of His strength.

The boy in the green shirt came back.

He stopped to talk and ask me what I'm doing.

I told him, "I'm writing."

He asked, "What are you writing about?"

I replied, "I"m writing about the day. What it is to be here,

to walk downtown, to see the park; what I'm thinking

and feeling."

His face pulled strangely as if he'd never heard of such a thing.

I asked him, smiling, "Do you ever write?"

He shook his head quickly, "No."

He asked me how old I am, if I was in college or high school.

I replied, "I'm out of school, actually."

He looked a little unsure.

I asked him how old he is. He replied, "I'm thirteen."

I was surprised. Here I thought he was ten.

I suppose we both surprised each other.

He quickly moved away and I was smiling,

only to hear four loud-mouthed boys ask him as they biked by,

"So, what did she say?"

He mumbled something quickly and they started laughing,

yelling back at him, "Thanks, man!" as they pedaled away.

He'd been set up by older, 'cooler' guys.

He had been used to try to be cool by vulgar little brats

who wanted to know more about the lady sitting on the park bench

typing away.

I'm sure they felt stupid for getting information about a woman

twice their age, but nonetheless,

I was struck.

Even the one lovely moment I had ended up tainted,

the politeness a cover for some dumb, childish, man-boy intentions.

So this is humanity, even its children.

This is what we raise.

And they keep on going and going

without knowing.

Yet I feel the Life-breath breathing.

They just need to come to Life.

March 17, 2011