Two Benches

bench

One of my favorite websites is unsplash.com. It is breathtaking. I have perused the collection of photos numerous times and the one above is without a doubt my favorite. I do not have words to explain why. It just is.

Maybe it is because I like to imagine myself sitting on one of the benches. Reading my favorite paperback while sipping on a latte from a local cafe. Comfortable because I am wearing jeans, a hoodie and some tennis shoes. Relaxed because I have absolutely nowhere to be and absolutely nothing to do.

And yet I can’t help but wonder if inserting myself in the photo would lessen its beauty. Should I keep my distance? I will make every effort not to disturb or alter. I must. Beauty like that which is seen in the photo above is precious and must be treated as such. I will be careful.

A careful observer might not even notice me if the photo were to be retaken. In fact, I think I may have slightly improved it. I’m sure I have.

The sound of a nearby siren startles me and I jump. I am able to catch my drink, but not before I spill some on the bench. It will dry in time. I simply move over. It is a big bench and I am by myself.

My cell phone rings. I know I shouldn’t answer it, but I do just this once. It turns out my friend is nearby and asks if I have had lunch. He offers to split a pizza and I can’t refuse. I do manage to read a few pages before he shows up, hot pizza box in hand.

I quickly remember that the one end of the bench is still wet so we move to the next bench. We eat and talk at the same time. Catching up quickly since we haven’t seen each other in months. The pizza doesn’t last long. It may be greasy, but it is the best in town. We notice that when we go to throw the box away that there is a stain where the box once was. We clean it as best we can with what few napkins remain. But with very little success.

After an hour my friend tells me he has to go and we promise to stay in touch. I return to my book, but something seems different. I look around and realize that I no longer belong in the photo. In fact, I think I have damaged it. What was once pristine and innocent is now altogether different. Almost unrecognizable.

What have I done?

Children come to us much like the photo above.

And yet far too often we forget that they were beautiful and magnificent before us.

If we are to enter their world then we must do so with caution. And maybe if we are lucky they will teach us and show us how to be beautiful and magnificent once again.

 “Why do they treat us like children? they said & I said why do you treat them like adults?
& their eyes opened wide & they began to laugh & talk all at once & suddenly everything looked possible again.”  

Brian Andreas

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