12.19.2009

Christmas Shopping, Wings of Desire and the Brotherhood of Man

I was downtown this afternoon, having shopped, coffeed and taken my library books for a walk. I was on my way back to my car, when at the corner of Pacific & Locust I heard the strains of street musician fare, pretty typical stuff, sort of pseudo-theremin thrown in with someone's Chinese water torture bongos. I had been musing on the idea of prayer, about how it often felt like a one-sided conversation, and while it was good to tell things to God, I wanted to talk to someone who would talk back to me. I used to pray and get some sense of the Divine discourse; lately it's been more like Anne Lammott's Outbox Prayer. She had a request, and would write it on a slip and put it in her 'outbox'.
As the music came more sharply into focus, I found myself thinking: what if it were true that each of these people walking by were loved, dear, and very important? I don't quite know how I got there, mentally. One minute it was plaintive inner bleating about unanswered prayer and the next I was hyper- aware of the people walking past. I peered at them from behind my scarf; the couple in front of the movie theatre, the shambly guy in front of the bagel place. The hipster girls by Urban Outfitters. The homeless guy curled up on the bench in front of the library; his cat gnawing on a chicken bone. I had wandered into Wings of Desire-I wanted to hug people and murmur encouragingly to them in German. And if all these people are so important and beloved, I must be too; we are all related, all children of the Father. I remembered that great Chesterton quote about the 'streets full of splendid strangers.' Click on the link for the full quote and an old post from the archives.
I don't often walk down the street thinking things like this, especially not in the midst of a crowded shopping afternoon, with irritating bongo drums that just. won't. stop. But there I was. I don't know if it was a Divine poke or just a really good cup of Peet's, but I don't need to know. I've lately come to the idea that I needn't question the way truth and grace come to me.
Here's the Innocence Mission to finish things up:

2 comments:

Camille said...

ok, I am crying. Maybe its the pregnancy 'mones, but the whole "preciousness of people" thing has been hitting me like a ton of painful bricks constantly since I found out I was preg.

rosa said...

Yes, maybe it's because of there's a whole new precious person that is being added to the human race inside you.
Still need moving help?

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.