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Lake Elizabeth, Fremont

I don't know why they chose me, these two men of very different ages, who each at separate times, approached and wordlessly asked if they could sit. I had plopped myself beneath a willow on the far side of the lake, grateful to have prayer time outside in the heat.
Ducks quacked past and red-winged blackbirds were busy nesting in the brush. The trail that circles the lake is wide and readily used by walkers and riders alike. My stillpoint at the base of the tree gave just enough shade to make me feel like I was part of the scenery, hidden. Apparently not. Peripheral vision noticed a teenager loping along off to the right, and several seconds later my ears told me that he had stopped, directly behind. I twisted around the trunk for a look. The young boy placed his palms together haphazardly and said with questioning intonation, "Namaste?" As reflex, I repeated the word back to him in welcome, but make no mistake, I was shocked. Sure, this is Fremont, one of the most religiously pluralistic communities in the country (or even the world), but really? This kid didn't even look South Asian! 

What happened next was so tender, so unique, it is a gift I will carry always. What happened was: nothing. Not a single word was spoken. We didn't even look at each other. I turned back around to face the lake and he landed where he stood, off to my rear left. We remained just like that - staring at the water, sensing one another - for close to 15 minutes. At some point I stopped waiting for him to speak, and a little beyond that, I quit rumbling around inside for a familiar (and therefore comfortable) context in which to place us. We just sat in each other's presence and took it all in. And then, as quickly as he came, he hopped up and was gone. But not before saying, as simply as a person can, "Thank you."

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the story, when 30 minutes later an old Sikh man pedaled up on his stellar, adult tricycle...    

3 comments:

Sharon

What a timeless moment that you allowed to happen by just being quiet! As meaningful as it was for you, I bet it was just as much or more for him. I doubt he'll ever forget that moment in your peaceful presence.

Clare Henjum
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Clare Henjum

It is so heartwarming to know that at Spirit Rock there is a place to go and find comfort, calm and dance within grief. Within silence. The image you posted tells of this space even before the words.Thanks.

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