SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 165: “That Rose There”

“Hello” – quite a basic word and one that has been the genesis to countless amazing conversations I’ve had throughout the life of 365. It’s a salutation, as low-key as it is, that has propelled us to amazing interactions with the world during the last four months. And I take this as an acknowledgement in encouraging us in our 365 charge, “Chins up and eyes open to the people around us.”

This charge alone has changed my life, as well as my outlook of everyone I pass each and every day.

“Hello” has become second nature to me now, and I have learned to accept whatever is returned to my gesture. I will not disillusion us, much of society is skeptical and justifiably so. There are more scams on the street than I can name. And with intrusive solicitors knocking on our doors and phoning as if they have privilege to interrupt our precious time, it is completely understandable for the need of a protective street shell.Yet this shell can also be our greatest nemesis, isolating ourselves from the opportunity to broaden our scope in appreciating the people around us.

“Hello” – what’s the harm in sharing it? And if said with it sincerity its results can be pretty astounding. The key is to expect nothing in return, and to not compose any pre-conceptions of those you are acknowledging.

Just throw it out, to anybody, anywhere, anytime; some may smile back, others shiver nervously at its gesture, and if you are lucky, some may slow in acceptance to further conversation (and how cool is that). But at the end of the day what really matters is the seed you planted, and I’m sure that your gesture makes a deeper impact than you realize. This is a fact that after interfacing with at least five hundred strangers since the inception of 365, I have come to know.

I say regularly, “I am not directing 365, it is directing me.”

And through your readership, and I hope your acts, we are all-embracing the power of “hello,” adapting it into our every day living. Its impact is powerful and its ability to heal many a weary person and to unite humanity is remarkable.

So here is a gift to you, translations for “hello,” Use them as you may and I’m sure that many of us would love to hear your stories of reaching out to the world with your “hellos.” So please feel free to comment your experiences. Remember, “We are in this thing together.”

Most of my day today has been confined to my desk in completing business agendas. And when 8:00pm rolls around, its time for me to steal a break in running off to Starbuck’s for a soothing herbal tea.

Starbuck’s, you owe me a cent of two for the plugging of your stores, but I can’t help returning there; the free WiFi is so convenient and the cake counter is my refuge (Don’t tell my wife, she has me on a diet). (Wow – things you learn about while proofreading – TR)

The place is fairly busy, with many curled up into their own homesteaded table, ear-phoned and eyes glued to the laptops. I appreciate everyone’s privacy, and deem it extremely creepy to start talking to a person who is obviously doing all they can to escape from the humanity that surrounds them.

My take, it’s explainable for those who are studying or deep into business matters, but to see those, who by choice, decide to isolate from the experience of society is a sad thing to witness.

So I just nod and smile, some smile back, some wiggle focus back to their space, but no one attacks me, it’s not like I’m holstering an Uzi. And if they think I’m a prowler, deviant or social misfit, at least and I can sleep knowing that I’m probably a topic for entertainment in telling their friends, “What was with the scary smiling dude at Starbuck’s?”

As I mentioned, the place is fairly busy, and with all tables filled with, I’m in my space citizens, I recline to the patio where I throw a “hello” to a fascinating gentleman, and to my honor, a man that I can now call friend. Who is this chap? Say “hello” to investor, husband, father, spiritual giant and poet, Gordon.

Over hot beverages we talk for around an hour, covering topics ranging from religion and spirituality, to business and politics to family life, society and its future.

Gordon has seen a lot in his life, and is a captivating conversationalist. A highly educated and successful investor, he lives bi-coastal and has a deep understanding of the world and the issues we all are subject to.

Our conversation is high paced and I find it impossible to accurately take note to all we talk of. But there is one through-line to our discussion, “I don’t believe in specific miracles, the way I see it, ‘Just being here is a miracle in itself.’” Gordon shares.

We talk about the experience of life, and sharing where we both are at in life compared to the lessons to be learned in all that we do, difficult times to the best of moments.

I’ve lately been creating another philosophy, it disputes the “grass is greener on the other side” theory.

My philosophy? “The grass on the other side is just grass.” Meaning, we are not walking in the other’s shoes, so to draw any conclusion is unjust. I was taking to a friend in the medical profession the other day, and we addressed this point with his observation of seeing many of his so-called successful and rich, colleagues deep in unhappy and unfulfilled lives.

That contrasted with the experiences shared with me from another one of my friends upon his return from South America. “I spent time in a very poor village, and everyone was happy and content with life. There was love, laughter and peace.”

The grass is the same grass, no need to compare and, as Gordon proclaims, “Just being here is a miracle in itself.”

Leaves us a few points for consideration in examining this question, “Do we accept our daily miracles, or do we live by comparison and regret for what we don’t have?”

Perhaps we are created that we may have joy: Gordon’s suggested miracle of life.

The evening is getting late, 10:00pm, and in departing Gordon recites one of his poems for us. It’s titled, “That Rose There,” and goes like this:

My yesterday the rose was gone all that remained a vine of thorn.

But today a new bud was there and the prickly vine is no longer bare.

Amidst the branches of broken sticks, the climbing rose had made its fix

Although its flowers quickly died more colors burst from buds that hide

Because the tree of life grows the same way, twenty-two branches from each day and as those days are completely done, they fade into tomorrow’s sun.

Bursting as proud as light once there, touching the hearts that we’ve grown to share.

Just as the sun sets in the West, morning comes to another crest.

You leave this life to go somewhere and you bring that new rose there.

©2012 Gordon R. Hummel

Gordon, a pleasure sharing a cuppa with you. See you at Starbuck’s.