Monday, December 25, 2006

Humanity Machine

This is a new mall for me. I've never been here before. A lot of nice unusual shops here. Different stores not seen in the shopping malls I usually frequent. It is a multi leveled structure, floors between floors. Ramps, stairs and escalators to transport shoppers between floors, mezzanines, and elevated spaces.
Looking down, from the top balcony, out across the wide indoor thoroughfare, I see the holiday shoppers. In between the hanging lights, and holiday decorations, I see people in all shapes and sizes. Walking in groups, families, friends, or alone. Once again I am hit with this familiar feeling. This realization that comes upon me. Seeing all of these thousands of people in this place. They all come here, sharing in this social scene. Personal orbits intersecting each other. Worlds colliding, if only for a brief moment. I am flooded with unexplainable thoughts. When I try to articulate what I feel, I find that there is a dearth of words. I have to invent these phrases as I go along. And my companions look at me with that blank stare. "What are you talking about?" Life. I'm talking about life. Humanity. The Human Machine. These thoughts hit me when I'm in crowded places. When I see people in this way, interacting in the life dance. And I think about how this extends from here out into every other place. This night, in other malls around my great city, the same thing occurs. The same dance, the same life. And I get amazed that all of this humanity is drawn together in the same fashion. And there are all of those other worlds. Those personal spaces of which I'd love to touch. The aspects of these individual worlds. The untold stories laying in between the lines. I think of how not only here, in my Chicago, but in St. Louis, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Youngstown, Gainesville, Houston...I lose my breath, thinking how in every city, in every state, the humanity machine ticks, ebbs, flows.

I used to get this same feeling, on cold Saturday mornings, fog still laying thick on the fields, as scores of youth soccer teams went through their paces, playing their games. Parents standing on the sidelines, warming themselves with hot cups of coffee, talking to one another, strangers meeting strangers for the first time. Sharing stories about their kids. How in the same way, parents and children came together at this very same hour, in all the towns across the nation. The humanity machines. I cannot explain it. These words are inadequate. They surely don't describe the deep thought and feeling that accompany this idea washing around in my mind. So I remain, in awe, of the world, the universe, of this thing that god has wrought.

© Marc S. McCune 2006

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