Keeping things in perspective has been on my mind the last twenty-four hours. Not just because the quince are in full bloom here, while back in Boston they have had 77.3 inches of snow in the last two weeks. I continue to be grateful for even limited use of my arm as I recover slowly from a ‘frozen’ shoulder which didn’t work at all a month ago. I chug along on my writing project, that a few years ago seemed incomprehensible.  But today I am back to a basic reality because of what I witnessed as I breezed in and out of Whole Foods yesterday.

As I stepped in front of the Roosevelt Whole Foods from the crosswalk, a man bundled in grey clothing, sitting on a crate, whispered to me as the doors opened. So hardened by the sheer numbers of panhandlers in Seattle, I have adopted an invisibility cloak when I pass — turn my head, keep walking, hear nothing. As the doors closed behind me I heard the trailing voice say, ‘just some coconut water,’ or so I thought, and I puzzled over this through the sparking aisles, picking out my ingredients for peanut chicken soup.

After paying at the register, the doors wheezed open and I saw a mother, with a young child, standing in front of this man with her phone out. I heard her say, “what else? Don’t worry about it.” And the man on the crate said, ‘I’d be grateful for some coconut water.” And my cloak fell off and I stared. She was collecting his grocery list. She was headed in to purchase not only her items, but what this man needed.

Not handing him money. But handing him kindness, and compassion, and a hand up. Like the woman in the story I reposted on Facebook, “A Blizzard of Perspective,” who rolled down her window and unlocked her car door and made the world easier, for an evening, for a commuting mother and child.

Keeping it all in perspective. Being grateful. Paying it forward. Tag, you are it.


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