A young woman in a green kimono sits at the booth to my left. She wears silk sandals and her hair is pulled back. Her back is straight as she reads a book at the table. I'm hunched over my laptop, sipping a mocha. A Starbucks mug sits on her table as well.
I repeatedly glance at her... trying to avoid her gaze-- Hoping she won?t think I'm a pervert or a stalker.
But I'm drawn to her. I?m enchanted by her quiet dignity. There sits my anti-self: poised, refined, centered, peaceful. How does one come by these qualities?
Maybe they are not acquired. Maybe the best we can do is live out our natures. Hers: poised & dignified. Mine: restless & temperamental. Yin & Yang. The world needs both, I suppose.
While I have no hope for developing such traits in myself, I am nevertheless comforted to encounter them in others. Such people soothe me. Inspire me. Give me hope. They remind me that there is more to humanity than anger, ignorance, cruelty, and violence. There is also kindness. There is also quiet dignity. There is also beauty and refinement.
Pummelled as we are by images of death and destruction..... caged as we are by systems of greed.. it is easy to forget the subtler truths.
Kurt Vonnegut is right-- on a macro scale humanity is ignorant, perverse, vicious, and insane. But Basho is right too. In quiet, intimate moments lie our salvation.