Dance of the Sun
Photograph by Ivy G. Chiu, who pretty much on a minute's notice traveled all the way to DoJo in attempt to capture any bit of lighting despite the dark day.
On the three hundred and twenty-fourth day of this year, a month before the start of the Texan winter, which unfortunately will most likely not be of any difference, I went up to Austin to eat tacos and to get away from some of this pre-Narnia blues. Within an hour of my arrival, I already found my little bottom comfortably settled down unto the timeworn couch placed against the back right corner of my favorite coffee shop. This time, I noticed, the walls had been repainted into a periwinkle with a grayish undertone, perhaps to harmonize with the pending gloom outside. And so, while waiting for a friend, I triumphed over this space I claimed, where a rare gleam of sun splattered in from a nearby window, covering the wooden edges of the armrest with a layer of golden dust.
Across from me, strangers came and went, some pausing only for a few seconds before deciding the light was too strong for them. Finally, a woman with wild curly hair and a soft face braved into this sunlit area and sat down in one of the two rustic chairs in front of me. As I secretly admired how her velvet fedora perfectly flattered her face while ever so slightly tracing my fingers across the ends of my own cursed hair, a tall man holding a camera with a lens that glimmered under the sun walked over and sat down with her.
As it turned out, her name was Ingrid and his was Wellington. For a while in this little nook we made our own, we slipped into a conversation about the photographs hung on the wall behind me, each capturing smiling faces from the Dominican Republic. It took me a while to realize Ingrid and Wellington’s involvement with the project that documented the lives of those in these photographs. But as it slowly dawned onto me that they were the very people who created some of these beautiful moments, I abandoned my cool in excitement because really, it was a bit like meeting J.K. Rowling.
They told me that the name of this organization, Makarios International, meant “blessed” in ancient Greek. And how that was exactly the dream they had been praying to live, a life to bless. The ranconteur in them prompted them to roam across the continents – recounting the loveliness of others as they went, using their films.
It was good for my soul, talking to them. Like someone had finally awoken me from the doldrums of the season, reminding me of a few things that were indeed worth celebrating. I stayed in that exact spot for a while after they left, still waiting for my friend, but no longer able to feel the summery tingling as the sparkles from the sun slowed down their dance and began settling. I sat there, slightly more lighthearted than before, lingering upon Ingrid and Wellington’s love story, their passage of discovery, their hopes, all the things that would take pages and pages to write out. But if anything, what needs to be told about them is they carry with them the promise that the merit of their journeys is not a platform for them to narrate accounts, but rather encounters for them to listen to the creatures in the midst. Because, as Ingrid put it, the blessing of being heard is what’s powerful here.
Then, gazing out towards the beginning of the murky sky and shuddering in response to the chill outside I couldn’t actually feel, I knew that this was to be the message from them for me to pass along. That each of us desires to be heard, each of us craves warmth that travels from the tip of our skin to the deepest of our spirit. And furthermore, each of us holds the ability to bless by listening, to give a sliver more than what we can be given. Suddenly realizing an ever-increased liking for this favorite shop of mine, I drained the rest of my coffee toasting to Ingrid and Wellington, two fellow storytellers also restless in their most inborn habitat. And absolutely needing to find a worthwhile path for the sake of something above.