Archive for November, 2015

THE IDEA of AFFECTION

1. What you are reading is not about me; but echoes of a moment of grace in a long journey to avert the announced apocalypse. You will forgive me if I don’t bother you with [all] the details of the claims, the pointless allegations, and the random expansive spaces of silence; but, for context’s sake, some reconstruction of events leading to this moment is probably appropriate. On the path to self-realization one encounters a variety of humans, coming in many shapes and forms. At a molecular level we know we are somehow connected, irremediably interwoven with original equipment, gifts, fragilities, questions and a dose of sins.

2. For instance the woman at the table next to me is a perfect stranger; she’s talking about her career, how exciting is to “close-the-deal” [she is apparently a realtor] and how important longevity is for her family plans. Nobody but the people in her singular world would give a care whether she lives to be 100 or drops death around the corner due to a nutritional mishap; too much Zumba dancing, or, whether she goes deaf because of the blasting megaphones from the preacher at this unique intersection. Yet, there was something incredibly alluring from this female creature – the way she graciously moved her hands while talking; her rather sensuous regard and her shining rosy lips could trigger the imagination to new plateaus. Who is she, really? And why is she staring at her shoes?

3. As I enjoyed my cappuccino, I noticed the street-cleaner going about his business. Marcus is his name; a very efficient fellow I must say – he also moves graciously keeping our public square very clean. I am told he is part of a crew hired by the city to keep the grounds proper – formerly homeless, they are earning their daily lives with dignity, paid decently and supported in various ways, driven by kindness and compassion. There’s something almost heroic about him – he may blame his parents, society-at-large for his downfall, but, when he looks at me waving with a smile, I know he has been punished enough – redemption is his path. This is one of the common-sense decency that my city can be rightly proud of – fellow humans whose well-being matter. He has a name, a story – yet, for most passersby, he is a stranger.

4. Excuse me – she said – I see you come here with some regularity … and you usually sit by the windows, as if needed an unobstructed view of the plaza – are you a writer? Perhaps a filmmaker? Indeed, I replied – I enjoy reading and the view, it maximizes the bubble and seeing the gaps is easier. And who may you be? My name is Katrina, I am originally from Russia – I am a foreign student. Really? What are you studying? Environmental Sciences, she said with a big smile. I see; fascinating – you mean waste disposal, recycling and the likes? Exactly, she replied in a proud tone – saving ‘mother earth’ is my calling she added playfully. Indeed, I observed – the horror! Are you following the unfolding events in Europe? Of course, said Katrina; who wouldn’t? I appreciated her company; her soothing voice and friendly smile was somehow a spiritual fertilizer and I felt safe chatting with her. I suggested going for a walk around the square – find something noteworthy along the way – she said, yes.

5. Winding through the downtown river valley in the fall is a wondrous pastime; the great equalizer let the mind flow freely – no longer concerned with the GDP, or the latest bad news from the oil patch or some upcoming environmental catastrophe – in the nature of river valley there is nothing phony that I can see – one can even feel reverential. An additional beauty is to observe the intergenerational fellow-walkers, some holding hands, on in tender embrace, even kissing in public – marvellous! Of course, now that we have a Primer Minister that is quite demonstrative with his loving spouse – it feels that permission has been granted on a large scale – to hug everyone along the way – splendid! For a natural hugger like me, it’s simply paradise. Are you enjoying the walk Katrina? Very much she said – you know, I added, you are very tall – are all Russian women as tall as you are? Well, many, especially the ones from Estonia, she replied, with sparkling eyes. Nice, I said, I like that …

Leo Campos Aldunez © Edmonton, AB Canada /

Music: Mare Nostrum © 2014 https://youtu.be/1RLwZS5_gZ0

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