So here I was, practically fast walking my way down the sidewalk, the scorching Ethiopian sun beating down on my head, grumbling inside about how my feet hurt and how I was having to walk yet again the two miles from our house to drop off some documents for our residency, something that we have been working on for almost years….
And I pass him. At first I am a bit annoyed that he is meandering across the sidewalk and that I have to step out into the road to avoid hitting him…
Then I hear him. He is singing, and not just any sort of singing, its beautiful, almost like a child’s lullaby, but incredibly in tune and, well, angelic sounding.
Then I look at him. He has a pair of ripped and stained pants on, his shirt is hanging off of him, torn and grubby looking, like he has not taken it off for years. He has a crooked stick in his hand and is waving it in front of him, feeling his way across the rocky earth in front of him. And his eyes are gone, not closed, not covered up by something, gone.
And he continues to sing, its beautiful. I slow my pace to match his, and walk next to him for a while, enjoying his song, feeling the weight of my discontent pulling me down like a bag of cement that needs to be dropped before I can take another step.
We walk together he and I, and I begin to notice the world around me, the green grass, the blue sky, the beautiful sun that shines down to make the rows of maize reach out towards the heavens all bright and green. Its different somehow when you look at it through this man’s eyes, its more beautiful, and yet he can not even see it. He is singing about what he can not see, and he is describing it all in more vivid detail that I could ever do on my own.
We walk further this contented man and I, him unaware that I am even there, singing, penetrating my soul, changing me, helping me.
I want to thank him for showing me what I could not see in front of me, I want to tell him that he did not need eyes to see beauty and that he did not need to even speak the same language as me to talk to me about it.
We come to a street and he continues on, I need to go left, I pause and consider walking with him for a while to see what else it is that he has to teach me. But I turn, changed.