Our perceptions do not accurately reflect reality. If we saw what was really in the mirror we would see ourselves as much more beautiful, capable, and strong. My hope is to reflect vague pieces of truth about ourselves, our experiences, and the people we love. These thoughts will be reflected without mirrors so the true beauty of life can confidently stare back at us through the haze.

An encounter with an old friend

Over a week ago I walked home from a movie by myself. I was lonely in a beautiful way. The journey from the theater to my house usually takes about 20 minutes. I took an hour. The path home leads me over a bridge that extends over a small river. A spot that is well hidden by commerce. By car it takes anywhere from 1-5 seconds to cross this bridge, depending on the weight of your foot. By bus it may be faster (probably only in Brazil). Motorcycles have an advantage in traffic. Bicycles can take as little as 4 seconds depending on who is pedaling. I, with an average-sized stride and an above-average walking speed took 25ish minutes to cross the bridge.  I stopped in the middle because even walking felt rushed.

This small river runs into a wilderness and winds itself away from human contact. The wilderness that faced me was beautiful, dark, and deep; the river slightly polluted. I focused on the darkness ahead of me. The street lights and passing cars behind me filled my mind with destinations. Shouldn’t I be going somewhere? Shouldn’t I be doing something? My life is full of destinations. Everyone needs something to do. Everyone needs somewhere to go.  I often under-appreciate where I am because where I’m going takes precedence.

As I stood on the bridge I began to notice what most people rush past, taking anywhere from 1 second to 25.3ish minutes (depending on their mode of transportation and state of mind). There was life in this small forest. The hum of life on the road behind me was calm compared to the fearful, dark sounds of the wild. We humans are so obvious about what we do. We put big lights on the front of our cars and on the streets, honk our horns, yell, run, play music, make noise. The wilderness had so much more to say in its silence. The buzz of life below me vibrated my eardrums and I could no longer hear the traffic behind me. I spent a moment without a destination. I spent a moment with nothing to do but listen.

Hundreds of people cross this small bridge every day. I have made this short journey many times. Because I stopped I felt something I have never felt before. With each car or bus that passed behind me the small bridge vibrated. My feet shook. If I walked at all, even slowly, I could no longer feel the vibrations. Because I had no destination I felt something that most people are oblivious to, vibrations. Vibrations that people are oblivious to when they are loud, rushed, or both. Because I stopped I felt a little bit of it’s life. I wondered if there was life under the bridge that enjoyed the vibrations caused by busy, loud humans. It’s a beautiful sensation to feel close to a spot.

view from the bridge, taken in daylight

To the buzzing soundtrack of silence surrounding me, my mind played out it’s thoughts. I watched memories take the stage; the actors forgot most of their lines. They reenacted abstract versions of what was once reality. In no particular order a few of my life’s experiences passed by. Big smiles, heavy laughter, beautiful people, and even bad memories that are now funny were all part of the show. At the intermission they hurried off the stage and found seats with me in the audience. The actors were preparing for a special guest to take the stage. A guest even they wouldn’t want to miss while behind the curtain. 

As my feet vibrated to the music of busy life I trained my eyes on the darkness that faced me. Softly floating down the river I saw Hope make her way to the bridge. The dimmed spotlight in my mind reignited and Hope stood at center stage. Her squinted eyes were blocked by her hand which she had raised to defend herself from the brightness. She was shining, ready and confident for her part. She approached the microphone and tapped it to make sure it was on. She looked up and confidently searched the audience until making eye contact with me. 

Hope made me feel important with her gaze. She told me through music, poems, and parables of the possible. She always speaks to me through means that remain available. That way I can remember her even after she floats away. She had a captivated, silent audience as she involved many of the performers from the first act. We were all in awe at what she described. We could see for miles. Miles. Miles into what could be.

Eventually her time ran out. No applause was necessary because silence suited the mood better. The spotlight went cold and dust settled in the empty auditorium. I had somewhere to go. I went on to “more important” things than standing on a bridge.

Luckily, Hope promised me that every time I would slow down and wait for her she would visit me. She has kept her promise.


  1. Thanks Jessica! Congrats on being a mother, that's amazing

  2. McKinley,

    Reading your thoughts only confirms what I already knew. You are very bright and articulate. You are your parents child. We enjoyed our time with them last week at the lake.

    Continue to be well.

    Michael Herd


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