Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sitting with the Fruit-Seller

I probably spend at least 45 minutes every day walking down the street--I try to walk pretty much everywhere I need to go unless I'm late, especially as the weather's been getting better over the last few weeks. Normally every day I would greet, and maybe sit down with, a man who has a tent where he sells fruit about halfway down my street. Lately he hasn't been there--his tent's been closed down--and today it made me start thinking about him a lot.

I remember one time in particular that I sat down with him. He sits there all day, and different friends come, sit for awhile, and go. Normally no one says very much--we all just watch the people walking by, maybe exchange a few comments about the weather. He's a man who knows how to pass the time.

Well, this particular time I noticed that he had a bird in a cage--and I told him that it was beautiful. And it was--it's one of the dark-colored mountain birds that are beautiful, yes, but untame. As you walk up, each will glare at you with a wild, yellow eye and beat its wings against the cage.

Well, when I commented on it, the look in his eyes immediately showed me that I'd said the right thing, and it's clearly something he cares for. And he reached over, opened the cage, and took it out to sit on his hand.

The bird obviously didn't share his sentiment. It immediately started pecking his hand with its incredibly sharp beak. When it started pecking one spot over and over, he would slowly turn his hand, so that it wouldn't start tearing out a lot of flesh. It had to hurt, but he just continued to look at it in love and wonder, offering only a soft smile, handling it gently.

After about a minute he put it back in its cage--and I saw flecks of blood all over his hand where the skin had been punctured in several places. There was something really special about the moment. But something would be lost in the interpretation. I'll just leave you with the story.

1 comment:

Justin said...

That is the most beautiful thing I've read in a long time.