How We Make Our Way

How We Make Our Way April 22, 2013

Read Mark’s weekly reflections on The Huffington Post.

Over a lifetime, we are humbly changed by things we often don’t notice along the way. We’re often connected to other life we’re not aware of. This piece bears witness to such connections.

How We Make Our Way

When he hits the conga with his palm, it feels like color splashing in a wave. When she bounces the bow lightly on the strings, it feels like stones dropping in a lake. When their offerings circle the old man in the audience, it reminds him of the small hall in Europe where he first heard music as a boy. He can still smell the cigars in the lobby at intermission. The concert ends and the conga and viola go back to sleep. But he stays longer than the others, feeling at home in the empty hall.

In the outskirts of a city, a thief tired of running, stops to pant and hide behind a stonewall built by someone he’ll never know. He slouches and looks at the small thing he stole, unsure why he took it. The policeman who will find him has just run a light. He senses he’s close but is stopped by a young woman coming out of a café. The late light illuminates the tattoo on her ankle. She reminds him of his daughter whom he hasn’t seen in two years. The tattoo is of a small bird about to fly. In the soft light it seems like the part of her he’s lost. Now he feels like he’s chasing himself.

The old woman fills her pot from the ancient river as her granddaughter watches. The sun coats the lip of the pot and they carry the water between them back to their small home. The old woman feels the weight of the water moving in the pot and the strain of the little girl. This is how we make our way, carrying the weight of water between us. A thousand miles away, a farmer’s horse stops and the farmer, who whipped the horse when both were young, undoes the reins and rubs the horse’s face, puts his head up close, and the same light that coats the lip of the old woman’s pot warms their heads.


A Question to Walk With: Describe the impact of something or someone along the way that didn’t seem to matter when you first encountered them? What brought the significance of this encounter into your awareness? How has it changed you?

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