Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Watching the World Go By

It's midday, I've finished a lunch. I left my office to get away for a few minutes to remove myself from the hectic pace. Today, as I do often, I drove to the local library for some quiet time. I love my library. I can sit here totally alone in a comfortable chair and look out a beautiful big window. This little area is perched on the second floor and overlooks a street coming out of downtown St. Cloud, MN. Sitting on this corner, I can see the American Red Cross, HRA, a few older homes, and Denny's Shoe Repair. A gray lady walks down the street carrying her bag at a snail's pace. On the other side, a Somali woman strolls to the library entrance. Cars pass on the journey to ....wherever. Another young fellow is walking across the intersection with what appears to be a box of donuts or another bakery treat for someone.

I sometimes sit in this spot and just watch. I catch myself wondering who these individuals are and where they might be going. I wonder about the journey that brought them to this instant, and wonder if they know that they have played some ever so tiny role in my pleasure of watching the world pass by.

Today, I muse on the life of the Somali woman. Coming from a culture that is so far removed from the rather homogenous background of Saint Cloud, I think that her life may be difficult. Did she come here for opportunity? Was her family able to come with her? How does she survive in a culture so foreign to our existance? I just moved here from Texas a few years ago, and find this place foreign; I can only imagine the culture shock for her.

I also watch the cars driving by and wonder about the destinations. I ask myself why are they all in such a hurry. That's why I come here, to sit and not be hurried. I need a space in my day that is not filled. I need a spot where I can reflect no matter how mundane the thoughts. I like finding the most remote section of the library, and simply sit. Occasionally, my spot is interupted by a person or two strolling the stacks, but overall I'm alone. Alone and yet not really alone as I watch my friends, that I have not yet met wander through my life. I hope they know that I am enriched by their simple presence.

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