Walking on Snowmen - an Essay to Reveal One Secret of Life
A rare and unusual man
MY PROGRAMMED LIFE INTERRUPTED
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 Although I was wearing my best outdated clothes that told passersby that I looked the part of a fool, at least today I wouldn’t feel like a fool.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 WAS FOOLING NO ONE BECAUSE
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.
The upward evolution of Tibetan monks
IN AN INSTANT, I WAS STRUCK WITH HIS DEMEANOR
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.”
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
WHAT WAS HE TEACHING?
“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.”