I nestled my chin into my jacket as the cold air whipped against my skin on my bike ride to work, when I saw him out of the corner of my eye. He was making his way to the office in the opposite direction. Despite all our failings and my better judgement I could not help but wonder why our paths continued to cross. I looked away because I couldn’t stare rejection in the eyes, because I was scared. So I squinted with intent focus and felt my legs go weak with heaviness, as I softly whispered to myself just keep going. Once the figure had passed in my periphery I let out a sigh of relief, and everything became easier: movement, breath and being.
Rejection was behind me and I could move forward.
As I approached the pedestrian bridge I shifted my path around a pickup truck. I watched as men with large steel toed boots and offensively orange jackets closed the blades of their industrial cutters around the fragile necks of the secured locks that adorned the bridges rails. Orange jackets and armoured men nonchalantly breaking commitments pledged by strangers. They worked with a detachment and finality that could cut through more than metal. As I rode by, I slowed, sensing their purpose was larger than the assignment of lightening the bridge. They were making space for new love.
I looked down and I saw the ducks. They bobbed as the water drifted them downstream, currents keeping them together or bringing them further away from the others around them. They surrendered themselves to the waters and spun along with the flow, wanting nothing more or less than to be, and to move on.
I suppose it’s time to focus my eyes on the road ahead, find some protective gear, and let the river take me where it chooses.
I love staring up at the stars; it is humbling. Somehow staring at the rest of the universe is the only way to bring myself back to earth. As I gaze up, whether it is grass, sand or pavement at my back, I am reminded of my smallness. I remember that the earth is just a small step in a much larger choreography. Smallness is good for humans, with billboards, television, and social media it is far too easy for us to be fooled into thinking we are much bigger than we are. The context that I get from looking up both disorients me and soothes me.
When I stare up at the sky what I don’t see is constellations. To me, the glowing dots resemble a bag of dropped marbles; there is no conceivable order or pattern to their placement. Thinking about them connecting together to form images is beautiful, but also inconceivable. I have never seen the big dipper, and I don’t know if I ever will, and that saddens me.
I crave human connections. I am energized by the type of love that keeps people up at night, the interactions that make strangers feel at ease, or share an emotion with you. These connections are what string people together to create something beautiful and strong. I crave this, I want to be a part of this larger image, but I don’t know how to connect the dots.
I am an observer, and so I watch. I watch at the airport as families and lovers are reunited; I watch at the coffee shop around the corner as customers come in for coffee and leave a part of a community; I watch at the grocery store as a grandmother advises a man on which type of crackers to buy; I watch a mother at the store help her daughter pick out her first bra. It is these small moments that bind us together, that make us entangled, that show us love and make us feel beloved. These moments are the building blocks of all things good and beautiful in this world. These moments also remind me of what is missing. When I enter into a coffee shop I open my laptop to work; when I grocery shop I put in my headphones, when I shop I cringe at the thought of having someone look at my body when I try on clothes.
Maybe it’s me, maybe I am blind to these connections, or maybe light pollution has made them impossible to see. Regardless, I don’t think we give enough attention to the constellations. We need smallness, but we also need each other. Until I can connect the dots I will continue to look up.