Yesterday, after four hours of (foolishly) walking through the super-humid, 94-degree heat, I was wilted and tired and thinking I should just go collapse in my room with the AC set to “arctic.”
I decided to cut through Jackson Square because that made a straighter line to to hotel, even though it would be crowded. It’s always crowded, I imagine, because there are always any number of fabulous things happening there. And yesterday, the fabulousness got shared with me.
There are a least a dozen human statues in the square, mostly kids (or at least kids to my middle-aged-lady eyes), covered head to toe in whatever that silver paint is that really can’t be good for their skin, frozen in whatever pose has struck them at the moment. There were two frozen mid-brawl, two in a lover’s embrace, and several posed solo, standing and sitting unflinchingly as the visitors watched, hoping to catch a movement.
They’re pretty good, actually, but I’m a bit of a snob about looking like a tourist (yes, I know I am a tourist … but still), so I never stop to watch them. One boy caught my eye, however. He was sitting on the ground, a frozen jazz trumpeter with his silver suit and bowler hat. The fact that he was black got my attention, as most of the other silver kids are white. Also, I could see that he was totally adorable under the paint. There were two large groups of people right behind him, staring and talking, waiting to see so much as a shiver. When I got close to him, he opened his eyes and looked right at me, winked and smiled. Then slipped back into the statue.
I smiled and kept on walking, then I noticed the “Pick a subject, get a poem” sign and had to walk over. Who can resist such a inviting call to be a patron of the arts? Well, maybe lots of people, but not me. So, after the false, default-position start of “Jamaica,” we settled on my subject choice of “solitude” and David got to work. That’s David Blanton, on-the-spot poet. And here’s his poem:
There is an interconnectedness
to all things
even if we don’t see it
or feel it.
No one is ever
truly alone in a
digital world connected
by ones and zeros
and the cultural stories
that give life meaning.
Are we more than what we see or seem? Yes
we are that divine spark
in carbon shells collapsed into
water, feeling connected and
alone at the same time.
After finishing the poem, he gave me a reading and, because I told him his poem had inspired me to come back to my blog after such a crazy-long absence, he also gave me his blog address. So you can meet David, too: Irrational Grace.
I walked away with a smile. Still tired and sun-faded, but feeling a little embraced by this city.
And then I turned the corner onto St. Peter and started to walk past the painters and tarot readers … and this woman looked at me and said, “You look interesting. Come tell me about yourself.” Who greets people that way? How could I not stop and talk with her? So I stopped. We talked some, laughed some, admired each other’s hair (and I her hat). She’s working on this painting-from-a-photo here, and it’s great, but her “real” paintings, strung up on the wrought iron fence behind her, were stunning. My favorite was of an older couple painted in waves of warm earth tones, the couple practically coming off the canvas.
I was still tired, had still spent too many hours in the sun without any food, but those three moments of connection pleased me, made me feel human just when I was feeling as if all life had been sucked out of me. It was a nice “welcome back” from the city.