Alive, and a Little in Awe of It

I saw this man on the train. He was tall and long-limbed in clothes that were dark and pressed. He sat in a window seat with his long legs and long arms folded gently across him, torso leaning towards the side of the train.

All around him, we people had our heads tilted down, looking at our laptops and magazines and very fast-moving games.

The man, though, had his head tilted up. And he was looking out the window. Not dreamy or detached. But with the clear, present gaze of someone who is alive, and perhaps a little in awe of it.

For an hour, he rode like this. In stillness, looking with an attentiveness so beautiful, so powerful it was like he was spilling his whole self and soul over into the present moment.

Sure, we could say, he was just paying attention. But, as the poets would say, isn't that just love by another name?

And how many moments are unloved and unlived because we didn't look up and pay attention to them?

But this man, this tall and still man on the train, was beautiful evidence that even when everyone around us has their heads down, we can tilt ours up. And be alive, and a little in awe of it, in the present moment.

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Growing WiserCaitie Whelan