On Thursday, in the remaining moments of my lunch break, I walked up and around the city streets–enjoying the warming sunlight.
I turned a corner and I heard music, live music, the kind played by a person looking for change on the corner. This wasn’t your standard “play a few recognizable notes, move on to the next song” kind of fare. This was an artist pouring himself into his flute.
I had one dollar left, so I gave it to him and stopped to listen.
He finished. I applauded. Standing ovation from an audience of one. He smiled and thanked me for the donation, asked me if I had any requests. So, I requested the most beautiful song he had…his choice.
He looked away from me, mentally sorting through his repertoire, eyes unfixed but facing heaven. Then he raised his flute to his lips and started a love song. By the Beatles.
And if you saw my love, the flute sang, you’d love her, too. And I love her.
It was perfect. Art/ music/ beauty, there on the concrete corner of my blessed Detroit.
On Friday night I was thinking about seeing a movie, but Juli-YEAH suggested we pray in front of an abortion clinic instead, and so we did.
It gets dark early now, here in Michigan. And, with the darkness comes deeper cold, so I wore my winter coat, noting that I’ll probably need a new one this year, the down inside is feeling thin.
We met outside, hugged, pulled out our rosaries–mine just a corded bracelet I wear around my wrist.
“Should we sing?” I asked.
“I was thinking about singing!” she said.
And so we prayed and sang in the cold darkness of a Michigan night with the traffic rushing past us, so close that often we couldn’t hear the other half of the prayer.
We sang ancient hymns and praise & worship hits and a little bit of gospel, even. Singing and swaying in prayer in the frigid clearness of late fall.
On Sunday it wasn’t too cold out, and the sun was shining, so I asked my brother and sister if they wanted to go on a short walk through the now-almost-bare trees.
They said they did, so we put on hats and coats and gloves and went to walk around the park.
The route is unquestioned–it is the one my parents took us on as children, so we follow the same well-tread path now.
There were two new dogs at a new corner-house on the route. They barked a singular precautionary bark in our direction. So I called to them, “Dogs! Hello! Are you good dogs?!” And they wagged their tails and stood on their hind legs and cried for pats.
So, I obliged. I told them they were good dogs, and so soft, and they stared at me with their deep, brown eyes.
Then Paulie started talking about some thinking he had been doing about Peter and Jesus when they are coming to the region of Caesarea Philippi. It’s a Bible story. He had heard some commentary, I had heard different commentary. We discussed our different stories back and forth.
And then Paul said, “Do you want to know where there is a geocache around here?” and he found a plastic bag full of cheap, colorful plastic knick-knacks in a knot in a tree. He signed our names as having found it, put the bag back in the tree.
We walked continued down the path we had walked as kids. Paul remembered when we used to trick-or-treat these streets; he took our picture by an inflatable lawn-turkey.
And then, that was it. We went home.
Memories are small, simple things, aren’t they? A man playing a flute. A few off-tune songs at night. A walk around the park. Nothing.
But, alternatively, everything.