I had the incredible pleasure to collaborate with the brilliant artist and photographer Maira Santos of Silver Photo Journal. Initially we decided “Lady Inspiration” to lead us forward until later that night Maira sent me a photo that she had taken that day. “I was wondering what he is thinking about while working. He is so elegant and concentrated. Let me know if you have a story on that.”
Right away I felt that I did have a story on him and wanted to tune in further.
I usually prefer seeing the eyes because this is how I tune into someone – but then I realized – there are so many eyes that we don’t see with their stories to tell. And there are also eyes that see us even from afar, from up-there, maybe on a rooftop; eyes that see us even when they remain unseen to us.
And so, I started my story immediately,
are you his eyes?
from up there
There are so many eyes we pass by each day – strangers on the street. We all need to feel connected and worthy – to belong – and from up there on the rooftop the world is ours – and we are strangely somehow still in it.
From up there – we might see a stray dog, maybe injured. From up there – it looks like something new now – something small, moving but not moving enough to be completely noticed – but no longer just a stray dog injured – now it’s a new thing – a small dot perhaps, like just a small word – but with new meaning. And maybe even easier to notice from up there, than down here.
From up there even small dots have meaning – if we have the heart to see.
Because imagine going so high and still feeling so deep.
To have the eyes to shift our focus away from the neons and the mainstream’s minor gods – to witness the eyes of a stranger sitting beside us, an animal or a vulnerable person – to witness those unseen and unheard – to notice something moving even if not moving enough … and still caring about it – now that’s something truly special.
I have a very specific memory. Many (many, many) years ago I stood on a balcony – surrounded by concrete buildings, abandoned construction and a few stray dogs barking in the distance. If you’ve been to Eastern Europe, you’d know the kind of concrete jungle I am referring to.
But this place was a home for me. And in that moment, all I could smell was the afterrain – the freshness of hope, of breathing and the comfort of what felt so blood-close – it was a part of my childhood.
And since then, whenever I smell the afterrain I think back to that place I once lived in. I think of that balcony – where amidst concrete I had dreams and looked at stars; where I planted seeds of love each day and night beneath the concrete ground
where I wore ripped blue jeans, listened to rock and celebrated July morning watching the sunrise
where we jumped fences, spent hours on rooftops and believed wholeheartedly in love
where freedom ran in our veins, and the strings of guitar were not a genre but a lifestyle of not being part of the herd – the strings of guitar were the sound of honesty, to live a life of integrity, awareness and passion
and even concrete was our wonderwall. and that’s brave
because we were able to look at the ceiling and then through it
to be surrounded by concrete and metal yet only see blue sky
because here is where
we smell the afterrain
Twenty minutes later, I sent Maira my draft notes – and I was so happy when she shared that the afterrain had a special place in her heart also. This made the story even more special. As we got to talking more (and needless to say I absolutely adore her and so grateful that life met us!), she shared more about who the man actually was – that he worked at this construction site past the rice fields In Bali, Indonesia – building a new hotel for the community. And what really touched my soul and heart was when she said,
“They are building the future in terms of blending technology and nature but I don’t know if he knows that.”
And there it was. The missing piece to the story. The futures we build each day and don’t even know it. We are so hard on ourselves all the time – we belittle ourselves and engineer into smallness. It’s hard to realize the progress we make each day – but look back a year ago – where were you then?
Every day we make a difference in someone’s life even by the words we choose to speak – of kindness or of harm – this is our choice every day. Futures are built with time, dedication, empathy, respect, patience and hard-hard-work – every day and night – whether it’s a house, winemaking, a relationship, a family …
We may not know it always – but trust me dear reader – you are already making a difference just by being you. Whatever you do or don’t do – it is enough – you are enough – and there are eyes watching over you and loving you more than you know.
are you his eyes?
from up there
blue-jeaned and shy cap wearing
his hands are an old marriage
wrinkles of care sink into folds
of touch is touch, years in the making
past the rice fields
a man works in construction
he is building a future but
he doesn’t know it yet
it’s kind of being brave – up there on the rooftop
because imagine going so high & still feeling so deep
to see so clear even what seems like small dots
to look at the ceiling and then through it – this is brave
to be surrounded by concrete and steel yet see a blue sky
because here is where
you smell the afterrain
Much love & peace