This is a true story that happened on December 12. Truly though, the story is still going, and he may still be on the street for Christmas. I will post updates as I discover them. Thanks for reading.
The winter days have drawn into a dreary blur. The clouds don't move or change, they weigh heavy on the sky, dead, gray, and faceless. The air is biting, and the wind is sharp. But no snow will fall, and the ground is naked and cold, its winter fur missing this year.
I am caged in my room with little motivation but a growing pressure to do something. I am unemployed, out of school, and alone. So I play with ideas, stare longingly out of the window, and wonder where I can find inspiration.
It takes until noon before I realize that my mind is closed. I want to be with friends. And yet, I feel that I need a reason to be with them. And so I make a big move. I write a list of phone numbers onto a piece of paper and shut down my computer. It is high time that I moved from virtual to real. All I have to do is punch a few numbers into the phone and a friend’s voice will be on the other end. What have I been waiting for all morning? Opportunities are not going to find me here in this room. I have to open up my heart not my Facebook account.
And it only takes a few seconds before I am talking to one of my closest friends. There is no need for ideas or organization. Not anymore. The natural companionship that cannot happen online draws the conversation onwards until we decide to climb a mountain. Yes, that’s right. Who cares about the weather? It has no say over what we can or cannot do. So let’s climb a mountain.
It’s a bitter winter day and the park is wild and vast, but somehow we find each other on a trail and begin the climb. The trails are bare and the natural world is free and undisturbed. No one would think to climb a mountain on this winter day. But why not? We’re doing it. And it’s beautiful.
We reach the top and realize how another perspective can change the world. It’s funny. When the world changes for us, we change the world. We see the city sprawled out around us and we wonder how it got this way. We watch the vehicles creep along the highways like insects, and we wonder about the thousands of lives being lived down there. Don’t they know that we’re up here? Don’t they know that they’re surrounded by other human beings? Don’t they know that they live on the surface of a landscape that extends to the horizon and beyond?
I think about my morning spent in my little room feeling alone. How could my perspective be limited to a single room? If ever I feel caged again, I must think about the mountaintops before I can see the life right in front of me. But now that I stand on a mountaintop, I see not only my own life, but the lives of thousands below me. And I want to open my perspective even further.
My friend and I talk about the future, and then he mentions a candlelight vigil downtown that he is attending. People are joining to stand up for climate action with a beautiful gathering of candles and songs. He invites me, and I am happy to join him and the hundreds of others who will be gathering for the cause.
We hike down the mountain and a few miles more just to find a bus. By the time we arrive downtown, my feet are sore and we’re left with only one minute to get to the square. We sprint through crowds of people bundled in winter jackets and laden with Christmas shopping. The city moves in slow motion compared to our quick feet, and the pedestrians all walk in straight lines as we dodge between them. We are still very aware of that mountaintop, and our perspectives are far beyond ourselves. We are open and receptive.
The candlelight vigil soon opens my perspective even wider than before. Now, my heart and mind are attempting to open not only to the entire city, but to the entire world. I think about the climate issues that are affecting the globe, and I wonder if we can cooperate to create a sustainable way of life for the human race.
I leave the gathering and walk through the streets with a large group of friends. We talk about what the world needs. We realize that true kindness is not in giving to satisfy the desires of the moment, but in giving the moment ourselves in order to change the future. I soon find my feet slowing and my friends parting. It is night and you can see the city’s breath. I feel alive as summer, and the weather has nothing to do with it.
I say farewell to my friends and wander on alone. My stomach is empty and my limbs are light and relaxed. Without any food clumped in my stomach, my breathing is free and strong. But I packed some food and am looking for a quiet place to sit, eat, and think.