The generosity of people never stops. It’s just where you look.
I work in a small town outside of San Diego. Hard to find. Even the name, Escondido, means “hidden” in Spanish.
I’m at my office fourteen hours a day because…I am now living with the 85 year old mother of a good friend. The friend has asked me to keep social distance from his mother. So I volunteered to be gone from 6am to 8pm.
In these times, it’s just what you do. But I’ve got a few hours to burn, particularly in the evenings. Clients are online. Streets are empty.
So last night, I took a walk.
I’ve been walking for exercise. I started yoga but it’s harder than I’d like right now. I try to time my walks in the daytime. There’s at least a little life outside. The day was busier than I expected.
Evening begins the symphony of din.
The nighttime walk fits new words into a condition without description.
There is no hum of existence. Footsteps sound ambivalent. Your ears are surrounded with flat, lifeless air, maybe a teaspoon of leftover breath.
The wind wonders why it even bothers.
When I left my office, distinct were the lights of one car, red dots dropping over a hill. Looking outward, nothing else approached, no steps faded in the distance. The explosion of the virus has emptied the streets, but left the buildings standing silent.
I made it to the end of the block, rounded the corner, and saw a dim flicker in a vacant restaurant. Walking further, I noticed a table and a chair tethered to the storefront.
I was greeted by a black meshed steel table.
Both the table and the white chair were attached to steel cables and the cables attached to the wall.
Firm fixtures. Open invitations.
A gentle welcome in the dimming of the day.
On the table was a note that read, “Free fruit.” They were oranges, about eight or so, sliding toward one side.
I sat in the white chair, picked up an orange, and began peeling. Darker, quieter came the night. And I sat and breathed what air remained. I felt that warmth of humanity, of that perfectly beautiful statement of grace.
Such selflessness within profound challenge.
The chair, the table, the nighttime and the orange. business is empty and closed, and yet their generosity remained.
I walked through the night and kept looking as the sun set on the emptiness.
I found evidence of humanity, generosity, and friendship and love.
We’re still here.
Our hearts still beat.