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Walking on Snowmen - an Essay to Reveal One Secret of Life

Updated on September 11, 2014

A rare and unusual man


Today, amongst the thorny choices I had to make, my planning was abruptly-interrupted when I met the most-unusual man. At least I believe that he was a man. He looked like a man. He even talked manly. I have to admit that he smelled much like a well-traveled man. The aromas of cheap, obscure low-rent boarding houses and Old Spice were dead give-aways.

After the aromas wore off, he slowly came walking through the fog in my blurry eyes. I noticed the pattern of a smile on his lips. I am sometimes a fool about such things, so I checked behind me to make sure he was smiling at me. He was and I was relieved. Although I was wearing my best outdated clothes that told passersby that I looked the part of a fool, at least today I wouldn’t feel like a fool. I do not judge fools or beats; it’s just that this man walking toward me looked like one of those phantoms who slide through our lives like a greasy sub from the shunned side of Detroit and a man who had no trouble with walking on snowmen. I worried because I wasn’t scared.


The blurring sight of life

Leaving a place as thin as a moth's wings


I myself had a nasty secret. When I was nine, I was caught licking the acid off of my dad’s car battery. “Gasp! You are one stupid kid. You will surely die,” he yelled as he dropped his beer bottle on our newly-set cement sidewalk that made our house look as suburban as those in the neighborhood. That was 33 years ago and I am still breathing icicles but only when gorgeous females with the name, “Margie,” are introduced to me at unadvertised reunions that I was invited to attend.

Take it from me. “Margie’s” are lethal to both mind and body. Especially if they were born with brunette hair. I knew a “Margie,” at age ten. She was thirteen, but already quite the young woman whom Mother Nature had sealed with her approval. I remember the sadistic summer afternoons when we would sit underneath the eave of her brick house across from our house and listen for the Swallows to perch upon the edge of her roof. What an icky game. But to get a kiss from “Margie or just to hold her hand was well worth the loss of my male pride. At (that) summer’s end, I did get that kiss and man, did she know how to use those pouty lips.

I daydream way too much. The rare and unusual man laughed as he sat down next to me on the ancient, splintered city bench that had supported many worn bodies, but was never replaced. No money in the city coffers, I assume. Isn’t it always the way with things we like. Our things of adoration worn and run-down and then a high-ranking politician, a “merchant of ignorance,” refuses to spend the necessary silver to make it all new again. It was, as I recall, at that very moment when I was thinking about this old city bench that the rare and unusual man taught me instantly how to appreciate the obscure things about my life. He did two things that bothered me: one, he squinted and smiled, sometimes simultaneously.

Tibetan monks

The upward evolution of Tibetan monks


Looking eye-to-eye with him was rather chilling. His hair was shorn to the scalp like an ancient Oriental warrior ready for war, but yet his gentle facial features spoke to me that he knew well the spiritual maps and patterns of life. And he was one whose spirit compelled people to listen to what was on his mind. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him—trying to look beyond his brown, ragged coat where a few baby rats once lived. He wasn’t bothered by what he wore as I was, so I knew the next step of our meeting was for me to rivet my ears to each phrase that found freedom from his lips.

Suddenly, without giving notice, the rare and unusual man who didn’t give a name, stopped and his face went stone-like, as if he had been struck with a vision from “over there.” I stammered, “Are you okay?” And there it was, that squinting and smiling that I guessed was his signature look. “Yes, my bewildered friend. I am fine,” he mumbled. “But you, I worry about.” I was chilled past the bone at the tone of his voice.

Before I could ask why, he said in the simplest of terms, “You are so confused and wandering past your destiny that was spoken to you at birth.” He said thumping his right thumb on his left knee. He spat on the ground and continued. “The riches and pleasure you seek are full of poison. You have to re-position your heart to the obscure, unseen things in life such as this bench. Therein lies a full life for you.”

Beyond beyond

Appreciate the obscure, unseen things in your eyes

" There is no disgrace in giving away to the obvious, and there is certainly no disgrace in allowing the light to fade on you."

- Chester Millington, essayist, circa 1882


“I might as well confess. I do not understand. And while I am at it, my rare and unusual friend, what does ‘walking o snowmen,’ mean? I had thought this of you before you sat down with me,” I questioned as his face was glued to the movement of my eyebrows, lips and nervous ticks I had contracted while working in Tibet years earlier.

“Oh, my friend. “that” term acts as your first key to walking simple and having richer thoughts that will lead you back to your destiny,” he explained. “Walking on snowmen, well, that term was derived from the monks in Tibet who taught in earlier times that when we walk out our life’s pathway, we walk on the warriors and spirits who knew how to sacrifice to reach a higher plane beyond the beyond.” I was about ready to faint or run from him. I didn’t know which to act on. My indecisiveness must have touched him for he asked in a friendly tone, “What will it be, my friend, do you want to faint or run from me?

“Neither,” I mumbled. He nodded to praise my mature answer. “What else do you feel a need to tell me?” I asked hoping that he had said his piece for at that time, I was late for a meeting with my family doctor.

“I must leave you, my friend, but before I go, just let me ask you, when you see death, is it the color black you are seeing that frightens you the most, or is it the knowledge that you are leaving somewhere thin as a moth’s wings and transforming to a place beyond spiritual beauty?” Now I was scared. He asked this question with such fluidity and with such confidence as he slowly stood to his feet, but waited for my answer, I was unable to speak.

“It’s the leaving a familiar place, thin as a moth’s wings,” I guess. “Ahh, then you do not see the black. Good, my new friend.” He said in a voice so low and yet in such an unknown authority.

“I must be leaving now. You have impressed my heart with the wisdom that you were never told that you possessed,” he said holding onto my hand. “You must disembrace yourself from the “true” black color: Death and then teach another man what you have learned here today.”

“But . . . but how, why me? What must “I” teach another man what I learned?” I tried to argue as he went from physical to the sharp image of a young man I saw once in a vintage catalog of men’s clothing.

He stopped and turned back to me and said . . .”Walking on snowmen.”

The rare and unusual man


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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      I am very humbled by your comment. Thank you from the heart for what you said about this piece.

      Sometimes I see a strange photo and then my hands take a mind of their own, so to speak, and before I can make solid sense of what I am doing, I look back and read the piece--yes, edited sharply too, for I do not want to publish jibberish, but pieces that I hope people will remember me by.

      Thanks again.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, vkwok,

      Thanks so much for your support and I sincerely appreciate you too.


    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, tobusiness,

      Thanks for being such a good friend. And leaving such a sweet comment. I appreciate you and your friendship and following.

      Take care and have a great week ahead.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a great story that is also very meaningful, Kenneth. This is the first hub of yours that I've read, and I'm very impressed!

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 

      4 years ago from Hawaii

      Amazing writing, Kenneth! Really amazing!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 

      4 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

      Kenneth, I've done the very same thing, in the past, it's easily done, this was such a lovely read it deserved to be read twice. :) My best to you.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      @ Annart and Tobusiness,

      Corrections made. Thanks again.

      Love, Kenneth

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear Ann,

      Thank you for catching the mistake and yes, it was a mistake. I am not angry or offended, but grateful to be blessed with friends/followers who care for me enough to tell me where I messed up. God bless you.

      And thank you for those very deep words of warmth about this piece.

      May God bless you and ALL of the followers who commented here.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Greetings, tobusiness,

      You are very sweet and kind as to point out where I "left the track," and this is not offensive to me at all, but a true gesture of friendship.

      And I will thank Ann too. I mean it.

      I not only have the BEST followers on HP, but the most GENUINE.


    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hey, Pawpawrites,

      Thank you, my new friend, for making me feel supported on HP.

      I sincerely appreciate your words and input.

      God bless.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, bravewarrior,

      You are very intuitive and sharp-minded. I am impressed with your ability to read more what is NOT said as opposed to what IS said.

      You are very spiritually-sensitive. God bless you.

      Visit with me often.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear Rhonda,

      Thank you from my heart for your sweet comment.

      You are way too kind to me. But God bless you for spending the time in reading this and commenting which made me smile.

      Come back again.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Romeos Quill,

      Thank you, kind friend, for the supportive words.

      I appreciate your thoughts very much. It is the thoughts of my followers that keep me fueled and wanting to write more.

      Peace and keep in touch.

    • Romeos Quill profile image

      Romeos Quill 

      4 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

      Fascinating article Kenneth; enjoyable by its sage beauty and straightforward appeal.

      All the best in Alabama and thanks for the write.


    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 

      4 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      This was intriguing. Most impressively done and left me wanting to hear more. Kudos!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      This is beautiful, Kenneth. Such reflection and deep meaning. I was pleased to learn the right answer had been given on the question of death.

    • Pawpawwrites profile image


      4 years ago from Kansas

      Wow, well done.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 

      4 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

      Kenneth, Wow...this is profoundly beautiful. Real or imagined, a powerful and wondrous tale, in every sense of the word. You might want to take a look at the paragraph beginning 'Before I asked why.' Ah... I see Ann has also mentioned it. Voted up all the way and sharing. I'm so glad that this is the first hub I've read this morning, I can now face whatever the day have in store. :)

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 years ago from SW England

      This is amazing! So well written. (did you realise a couple of paras are repeated- not sure if that's meant or not, sorry!)

      I love the phrase 'merchant of ignorance' - aren't they just!

      You even had me squinting and smiling at the same time!

      You paint a picture and draw us in, making us think hard about all this philosophy. I'm still gasping.

      This is the best hub of yours I've read. Voted Up and all and shared.



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