~3 million stories, each unique, no matter how similar to another. 3 million lives that interact and affect each other, most without ever realizing it or understanding that though they are but one drop in an ocean, there would be no ocean without every single one of them, and that each ripple caused by each drop causes waves that affect the entire ocean.
Thanks to the generosity of some friends, I’m sitting this morning in a bookstore cafe in downtown Chicago, watching momentary glimpses of each of these stories –
The businessman in his neatly pressed suit a table over from me, anxiously watching his phone, watch, and the door; who’s he waiting for? What’s got him anxious?
The guy that just walked by, stopped in the middle of his stride to dance and turn to the music in his headphones, oblivious to the world around him, or the attention (and lack thereof); I wonder if he knows that he caused a couple people to smile, and for just a moment, he made their day a little brighter?
The young woman who looks a bit lost while seemingly trying to fit in with the rush around her. Is she new to the city, trying to make a life here? Or has the eagerness of youth been swept away by an overwhelming cityscape that doesn’t seem to care that she’s even there? Maybe she just hasn’t had her ritual cup of coffee this morning, or is already on her way out of the city this afternoon to her weekend plans?
The photographer with his expensive camera and vest, himself capturing moments of life that will forever keep the secrets of the moment while betraying to later viewers that in that moment, there was life happening, there were stories unfolding, writing and rewriting themselves, and the grand play that is life was carrying itself out. Maybe I’ll come across one of his pictures someday, and recognize the moment he captured? Maybe, and perhaps more importantly, someone else will see those pictures, and be inspired to create their own stories in their minds, inspired by a moment stolen and shared…
I suppose, as a poet, a writer, an observer of people, and a traveler that I am inclined to watch the world around me a little more than some others and wonder about all the stories being written, all the stories that are yet to be told, and in some way, even if at least in my head, craft my own version of them based on a moment. Moreover though, I not only wonder about the stories of the people I encounter, but I often wonder at how my own interaction with those people in their moments changes their story.
How do the ripples I create as I wander through life affect the rest of the ocean?
How do yours?
We are each of our own making, and yet… we have all made each other.
Every story fascinates me – especially the ones that I will never hear, nor ever write.