‘Saints in the City’ excerpt–On a Sunday

It surprises me, the moments I might have in a cafe, comparable to those I might just as easily experience on a beach at sunset. The sound of the waves might be replaced by the radio or the chatter of patrons, unaware of the music they create for me; while the beauty of that fading sun may lie in the face of a child, eating away at a bagel with bits of cream cheese spread out across his face.

The solace that I’ve found alone with mother nature is one that I also find in the company of strangers. When I stand upon the peaks of Runyon canyon and peer out onto beautiful Los Angeles at dawn, I am looking at another side of mother nature, a different and more complicated fruit. I am looking out upon a land of people, somehow split between the mundane and complex, who all still remain so visibly flawed.

And as I look out at the skyline blanketed in fog or smog, for I often cannot be certain, I think of what a land this is. It is one of the most extraordinary degree of imperfection in an equally imperfect country, in an imperfect world. A human world. And I celebrate these imperfections, and of how in spite of them, it miraculously remains beautiful Los Angeles.

This afternoon, the cafe patrons seem preoccupied by nothing real complicated, at least not for these few moments to an hour or two. They are not here on business or feeling like they have to be here. We often tend to glorify the moments that are not easily lived more than once, those labeled once-in-a-lifetime, and rightfully so. And as I think of what mysteries await those of us who have yet to scubadive, skydive, go kayaking or cave jumping; I think too of the glory that lie hidden in the details of everyday life, in the moments that look up at us like a smiling cat from a shadowy corner. The moments that don’t necessarily need clear night skies or full moons, but mere faces. Faces young and old, jovial or reflective, familiar or foreign. These moments I celebrate.

I celebrate the common thread that brings us all together on a Sunday afternoon. I celebrate the motivation in the great number of people in the world who would rather go out to a crowded place than a quiet one. They seek the company of people whose names they do not know, whose stories they don’t need to know.

They don’t need to know their religion, who they voted for or what they do for a living. They seek the company of strangers. And that is a beautiful thing, worth celebrating on a Sunday.

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