On Vanowen Street

This morning I was on my own. I was early to my destination, so I stopped by a local 7/11 for coffee. It had been five years since entering this store. I also needed to break a twenty-dollar bill that has been in my wallet for a few weeks. While walking back to my car I put two fives in my purse for the event I was soon planning to attend. I held on to the rest. I looked up from my car and saw a black man with a trash bag and a smile.

His hand held open and out to me. I smiled back and walked up to him and asked,

 “Is this what you need?”

I gave him some money. He lightly hugged me and kissed my head with a blessing. I smelled the street on him but felt his gentle humanness.

“Are you going to church,” he asked.

“No, an artist is speaking at a local synagogue on creation stories.”

At that moment, a white man in his late sixties yelled something. I looked around at him and assumed that he and the man, I was talking to, were friends. The light changed to a darkness. My heart went from cheerfulness to a confrontation unwanted. This man was saying some strange things to me.

“Did you know that man is a convicted felon. He has a record. I am glad I am here to save you from him!”

This new man’s conduct shocked me. He was rude, aggressive and was insulting this heartfelt, other man. The black man slowly disappeared as a soft breeze. It seemed to me that he was not about to confront or cause any trouble. Yet the white man continued to slowly insult me. He approached me. I told him to step back.

“I am not interested in what you have to say, because you have no evidence that this man has a record. You have no evidence he is a convicted felon.”

“But we have been watching him, the Valley is not what it once was!”

“Who are the “we” you are referring to?

This man did not have an answer. His tongue turned to a mouth of bigotry, hate and slander. He affirmed to me he voted for Trump. I guess he saw my Bernie for President bumper sticker. Was this giving him a justification to verbally attack me?

Today the eyes of heartlessness and political darkness did not recognize the kind hand of humanity. Here in the San Fernando Valley on Vanowen Street.

A few moments later I was in a beautiful synagogue. The irritating confrontation faded. Instead, art, creation stories and depth mythologies enlivened my soul once more.

I learned about an artist today. His name is Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis.

Lightning Flashes 1909 (43KB)