4 Extraordinary Days! 16 Visionary Speakers!
Strolling in summer down Bleecker near Broadway, we pass a young Hispanic couple sitting on the curb. They begin to argue. He blurts out, “How can you say that?” She looks hurt. They start squabbling in Spanish. We laugh at them and at ourselves. It’s the same argument since the beginning of time skipping between us. The details change. The language evolves. We long to be close, then bump into each other, and tumble through life the best we can. How to stay close without losing who we are? How not to run away or retreat into isolation when misunderstood? How to stay connected and tethered to the truth that outlasts all argument? The next morning, I land on a bench in Union Square where the homeless sleep in the sun this time of year. A damaged man in a T-shirt is walking in circles, talking on a cell phone, though there doesn’t seem to be anyone on the other end. A young woman who’s listening to music is watching him too. We catch each other’s eye, not sure if we should get involved. But that’s the mask we all need to put down, the one that keeps us at a distance. For we’re already involved. The question is how?
This excerpt is from my book, Things That Join the Sea and the Sky (Sounds True, 2017).
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