Thursday, June 9, 2011

VIII. On Foot At World's End :Throngs

On Broadway, in the general vicinity of Times Square, throngs move en masse on the sidewalks and for awhile I try to look into each on-coming face as I walk. I feel an unexpected tenderness again and imagine that I could love each face, each story, all their effort and pain and hope, everything they carry and bear forward. It's overwhelming, so many eyes, and it's not long before I leave that path onto quieter streets, closed by construction, cast in the shadows of impossibly tall buildings.

This is the other side, and I sense it on my skin before understanding where I am.  The construction here is a grave stone for nearly three thousand souls, and for a moment I feel like I'm drowning. More than struck by the magnitude of this humanity, living and suddenly gone -  and this is just one section of a few blocks in a single city on the suffering Earth -  it overfills me and I want to scream, who are You to judge us at someone, but I'm not sure who.

Maybe you should pray, stop into a bar and have a drink or find a bathroom. There's no good answer, so I walk until finding a bathroom becomes mandatory. A little later I run into a young woman sitting in the shade of some scaffolding with a cardboard sign that says STRANDED. She's got a hat with a few dollars and some change in it sitting out. I ask her if she's travelling or left behind after The Rapture. She doesn't know what I'm talking about. I told her some people are saying that today is the foretold day of  The Rapture, when those who are saved will be whisked up into the clouds to be with God, and the rest of us will be left be hind to suffer horribly. She answers kind of dead pan, that must have been what all the drunks were screaming about in the streets last night. No, she says, she's just trying to get somewhere else. I wish her luck and then head that way myself, by another route.

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