The old capitol building is a place I often spend time at during the evening to witness the sunset. The ledging adjacent to the steps provide a good place to view the river valley and thus naturally is a good place to practice mindful meditation.
The following poem depicts a scene that once unfold on the steps as I was taking a moment between class.
A man leans against a tall roman column which hoists a ceiling too tall to shelter the steps which reside under.
He looks upon the ebb and flow of people, longing that perhaps they take a moment and see what he sees.
To observe and feel the details of existence; to note the wind as it brushes the leaves and to feel the sun as it touches the skin.
The ebb and flow, too busy to notice.
Occasionally someone stops for a moment; they peel away to take a picture of the view. This is a moment too brief. They quickly merge back into the flow. For them, a picture is enough.
A picture is not enough. A picture lacks depth. It's too easy to neglect the effect of the breeze and the feeling of the sun as the mind focuses on the task of taking a picture. He believes that when one reflects on the picture, it is the experience of taking the picture that is ultimately recalled!
The man is almost desensitized to this. He looks unabashedly at various individuals. His look into the crowd is one of curiosity. He used to worry that his look could be perceived as hostile, but has recently come to the conclusion that most are too busy to notice. And if one does notice, it's for too brief a moment...
He steps out from under the faux shelter, still atop the steps, to get a closer look.
"What are you doing up there?" a voice says from down below. He looks over and sees a girl standing below. Her body language implies she's a bit out of her comfort zone. But her smirk conveys a familiar curiosity.
He wants to ease the tension. "What are you doing down there?"
Hesitation. He follows up, "Would you like to join me?"
She does. Perched upon the steps, they discuss and share their observations and experiences of life. They both notice the feel of the breeze and the feel of the sun.
The man's focus is now on the conversation. He finds himself in an ebb and flow. This shared experience keeps him from being too observant of the crowds of people as both he and the girl share their perspectives on the experiences of life; experiences both different and similar. When his focus shifts outside of the conversation, it's only for a brief moment.
Minutes turn into hours as conversation flows. Eventually it is time to part ways. The span of time feeling like a moment, but not a moment too brief.
They leave each other without exchanging contact information as both are fulfilled by the wonderful exchange - this shared experience - and it would be counter productive to exchange this information. It would be akin to someone clinging to a rock fighting the current of life in a desperate attempt to extend an experience. They both opt to course with the river. They both fall into the crowd, having separated ways. Both onto their own respective destinations.
The man continues his daily routine of visiting the steps; peering into the crowd. Hopeful to once again meet the girl and hopeful to meet the other people who share her curiosity. He is hopeful that others find shelter with him atop of the steps.
- Thank you for your curiosity, Riley!!
We bumped into each other a week later. We spent a good half day together. It was during that time Riley showed me a poem that she had written about our encounter. I felt truly honored that she would take the time to do that. I wrote this poem in response for her.
This is an experience I wish happened more often. I wish that it happens to more people. Until then, this poem will suffice.