A day beginning like any other with coffee, morning greetings to my wife, email, the neighbor's barking dog who barks for the same reason Chauntecleer crowed, for the pure joy of it, yet something changed and a switch of senses, like flipping the pillow to the cool side, came over me, an awareness, alien yet strangely familiar, enough to create an edge of attention accompanying me as I went downtown to a meeting.
Entering the park on my way to the designated building, I slowed my gait to notice a napping man, then stopped altogether in awe of the broken sunlight that lit his face in curving streaks through the twisted, dense limbs of the giant oak above where he sat. Wishing I had my camera or was an artist with brush, paint and canvas, he appeared to me as a fine work of art hanging in a high musem. The deep lines in his brown face suggested a long, harsh life and a thousand stories - his clothes were the coverings of the dispossessesd, yet something of a different wealth surrounded him like an aura. A wealth of understanding? Understanding a side of life most of us would only read about or donate to? The pure appreciation of warmth on a bench in April down south?
When I started forward, the movement excited a few pigeons feeding on crumbs and the loud fluttering of their wings woke the old man - for a moment our eyes met, and although an impulse to avert mine was strong, I held a gaze, as did he, while passing. Smiles and nods exchanged between us before he again closed his eyes and, perhaps, returned to a dream, as I went on in search of my next, somehow better prepared.