well i had no idea that my blog post from yesterday would be a self-fulfilling prophecy. but, whoa, was it ever! what an incredible day – filled with overwhelming moments of clarity and inspiration. a day when it felt like everything i experienced was just laid out there for me, one moment after another. let me see if i can try to share it with you…
i wasn’t exactly sure where i wanted to head for my 40 days fika adventure. i hadn’t decided on a cafe, but i felt like i wanted to be downtown, so i drove there. parked in a parking garage. and walked toward pritchard park to take a photo of a specific tree there that i love.
pritchard park is a park well-known to ashevill-ians as a place of beauty and unique diversity in the middle of the city. people gather there to rest, to chat, to seek respite, to play games, to dance (on friday nights), to show off their creativity, to mingle, to be alone, to play music, to beg for food. and all kinds of people gather there. homeless, families, tourists, couples, hippies, street preachers, transients, protesters, police, photographers, artists, loners. some days it’s full of activity, some days not so much. on this day, there wasn’t that much going on. of course, it was only 10:30 in the morning.
anyway, after my little photo shoot with the tree, i sat down on a bench for a few minutes to bask in the sunshine. the sky was bright blue. fall blue. and the sun was warm, but not hot. there ever even a few leaves that fluttered to the ground every now & then. soon, an older, middle-aged man came and sat on the bench beside me. it wasn’t long before we smiled at each other and then broke into conversation.
ad-jimen was a kind, intelligent man. someone who’d had a tough life, i suppose. and now he’s alone. i’m not sure if he has a home or not. however, that wasn’t the scope of our conversation. instead, he shared his faith – that we just all have to love one another. of course, in the same breath he said that the world is messed up & getting worse, what with all the criminals, gays (oh yes, he went there), drugs, violence. i was with him on most everything, and i didn’t spoil our time together by announcing that i was married to a woman. a debate was not what we were wanting to have… we were enjoying finding things that were similar between us. cause, you know, sometimes it’s better for us to focus on what we have in common instead of what we disagree about. those kinds of moments and conversations always inspire me and leave me feeling humbled & alive. a 30 minute long conversation continued about everything under the sun and then some, including practicing counting to 10 in several languages.
those kinds of moments and conversations always inspire me and leave me feeling humbled & alive.
in the midst of my conversation with ad-jimen, a man rode up and abruptly interrupted us. he immediately said to me that i was doing exactly what i supposed to be doing. huh? how did he know me? what was he talking about?
and then i remembered that this exact thing happened to me years ago when i was in alaska. a woman came up to me, a stranger with piecing blue eyes, and said the exact same thing. upon remembering this, i took this guy on a bike a little more seriously.
he continued to talk with me and tell me that it was important that i take pictures of people, of asheville, and make the world aware. he then said that so-and-so (insert the name of a minister i know) was very pleased with my work as well. now, this minister that the guy on a bike mentioned is someone i emailed back in the spring as a possible contact person to help me with networking. i have never met this minister face-to-face, but we have emailed each other. so, the guy on a bike mentioning him was just another weird coincidence in a long line of coincidences… or was it? in any case, i heeded the feeling that i was having in my gut: something was happening. things were lining up. the universe was conspiring. god was moving. my soul was bursting. something big was going on. and i knew that i was in the middle of it, no matter if the guy on a bike was crazy, or if he was mistaking me for someone else, or is he was a prophet of some kind – which i believe is a possibility in life (prophets and messages are everywhere). no matter what, i had gotten a message through his words, like i did before in alaska, and i knew that they were for me. what the message was, i don’t exactly know. perhaps an affirmation of who i am, my dreams, and what i am doing/who i am being. what i did know was this feeling i was having, so i just let it sink into me.
after finishing my conversation with my original stranger friend, i ran into that guy on the bike, thomas was his name, three more times during the day. very interesting.
it was both of these interactions with interesting people, that had me in a mood where i felt connected, grounded, and inspired. i felt that this was a day that would mean something. and that i should try something new. not just go to the same old kind of easy, relaxed place, but to embark on something a little different. and boy, did i.
i left the park and headed toward the cafe i had now decided to visit. as i walked, i suddenly heard, “hey! photographer lady!”. for some reason, i turned around. knowing someone was yelling at me. it was thomas, the bike guy. this was my second meeting with him. he wanted me to take a photo of him and his basket. he explained that he enjoys delivering food to people personally, people who need it. and then, he proceeded to give me a whole baguette loaf. i tried to tell him to give it to someone who really needed it, but he insisted, saying that when he has a feeling about who to give food to, and then he does it. i was to be this loaf’s recipient.
understanding that there are mysteries that abound in life, i accepted the bread. i knew that it was a symbol of nourishment – of feeling full. overwhelmed with love. i left the bread in the park a few hours later, for someone who needed it for literal nourishment.
as i was leaving thomas, al-jimen ran up to me again and asked me a question about something that we had talked about. after almost an hour, i was still in the park, surrounded by these 2 men, engaging in these random conversations, knowing that these were sacred moments.
i made it to the cafe, and ordered my coffee with almond milk. i observed and soaked in everything there. read about it here. as i sat and wrote in my journal, a young couple came in. i assumed they were a couple, but i soon realized that i was mistaken. the young lady was some kind of helper for the young man. she needed the use of the public computer in order to find a bus, and the young man (about 20) who looked like a gang member, began to chat with me as she surfed the net. he was difficult to understand, but a very sweet young man. of course, given the students i have worked with before in life, i was not scared of him at all. we talked about his life and how he spends his time, and in the end, he asked to be my friend. so sweet and innocent. appearances, people… don’t judge.
after i left the cafe, i thought about all of these interactions, wondering what they meant – if they meant anything. but, i’m a believer in meanings, so i know that something was going on, as i mentioned before. i wandered around, deciding what i would do next, when suddenly thomas (the bike guy) stopped me again. he wanted to show me a store and introduce me to the owner, but the owner was busy, so we couldn’t meet properly. thomas and i chatted a little bit, and i realized that he, and the other 2 men i met, just wanted to be listened to. they just wanted to be seen. to be heard. like all of us.
alone again, i stood on the corner of haywood street, in some sort of overwhelmed and amazed daze. what to do now? and then i saw it… THE building. and i knew i had to go in and introduce myself. (not to the building, but to the people inside it, of course. hehe).
you see, in this old, beautiful building, are the offices to the paper that i dream of working for. i walked in the door and stood in the big, beautiful hallway, daring myself to go us the stairs to the main office. what would i say? how would i say it? i got tired of myself…
so i just did it. i walked up those stairs, didn’t think about anything, marched right in an introduced myself as a writer/photographer new to the area after living in sweden for the past 3 years. and after a little chit chat, the receptionist, said that she wanted to give me the email to the managing editor because she may be able to talk to me about freelance work, which could also lead to a staff position…
and then, it was over. i had a piece of paper in my hand and the suggestion to email, and then call, the editor of this funky, artsy, well-established, alternative asheville paper. eeeeek!
i celebrated with lunch outside at a cafe nearby, where i spent my time composing my email and greeting pretty much everyone who passed by. i sent that email yesterday, and i leave it now in the hands of god, fate, destiny, the universe, whatever.
so, that’s how my day went yesterday. a day filled with strangers, unbelievable moments of clarity, hidden messages and menings and certainty that i am exactly where i should be. now… let’s see what comes of this. whatever it is, however it is, it will be just perfectly right.