A Modern Day Parable

by Maya Christobel

She caught my attention. An older woman who seemed more like a child really. Her unruly and disheveled hair flew in the wind and her brown eyes were wild with expectation.  Her gate was long and certain and she was on a mission.  I dropped my grocery bags by the car and followed her as she weaved in and out of unfamiliar streets, her long robe swaying behind her, arms pumping fiercely as if she were in a race. As she passed a dog tied tightly to a bicycle rack on the corner of Park Street she stopped momentarily and slipped his collar off scooping the black-eyed beagle up into her arms and continuing on as if she had expected him.  I could not keep up with her and began to run behind as she continued to rush somewhere I imagined to be very important.

Trees and flowers caught her attention, a rock into her pocket, a feather tucked into her sleeve.  Suddenly, a boy and then a bird and some old man sitting near the park  joined her and now there were many people following her trail.  She turned down and small street and a homeless man in a cardboard box watched her come near.  She stopped, her face a breath from his wide eyes as she smiled a smile that nearly knocked him to his feet.

Then she took his hand and pulled him up and without a word he joined the growing crowd of children and old people and animals that seemed to become a wave of energy pulsing through the streets, climbing up to the top of the small clearing overlooking the city.

By the time I could catch up and find my breath she was still, standing quietly overlooking the smog and hazy hidden buildings below.  Everyone was quiet, waiting for her to speak, to say something important, to tell them what to do, to levitate, to combust, to break down weeping.  She turned and with a deep and haunting laugh said ‘What fun life is”.

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