You really ought to get out of the city and spend an Independence Day in a tiny hamlet somewhere on the backside of America. The fireworks still pop, sizzle, bang and blow in such a provincial setting while the crowds are much less of a hassle. In fact, we drove right into the heart of Glacier, Washington and parked our truck. With a clear view of the pyrotechnic launch site, our guests remained in the backseat of the truck enjoying front-row seats.
The engineer and I wandered up much closer, so close in fact that I set up my tripod on the back porch of the container that serves as an office outpost for a luxury vacation getaway design company. Only two or three children ever got much closer to the yellow danger tape that separated the clusters of locals and their guests from the launch site. With my wide-angle lens, I directed the camera straight up recording image after image. No long lens required.
I posted many images to my social media site, but missed posting this one–a real favorite.
When I went to post it, I started thinking about my encounter with the tipsy young man with the untrimmed beard who apprehended me near our truck. Hollow eyes peered from beneath a dark hood-y. His beard looked gray, tired and scruffy like that of an old time-y mountain man. I studied his fine aristocratic nose outlined in the glow of the distant streetlight. I wanted to reach for my camera and make a portrait of him right there. I knew the eye of the viewer would be riveted to this visage. Somewhere behind those empty eyes a story festered. Instead he carved the image into my memory. Drunk he was, but something in his manner begged an interview. I know Holy Spirit timed this encounter.
He told me that he lives in a tent not a quarter of a mile from where we stood in the heart of Glacier. He’d been there all winter. He came to snowboard. Let me define that–he lives to snowboard. The previous winter he spent in Tahoe. Why was he here? “It’s the best place,” he told me.
Donning my life coach hat, I queried him with questions. Did he know who he was? Did he know God had a unique destiny for him? Did he know God made him for a unique contribution to mankind?
He starred at me blankly answering once, “If God has a destiny for me, why doesn’t he tell me?” and “I thought my mom and dad made me.”
When I asked, “Where are you from?” he answered, “Cape Cod. Do you know where that is?” I responded that I did and asked if he knew the Kennedy’s. He said he liked Teddy Kennedy. I got the idea he didn’t live far from the Kennedy compound and probably rubbed shoulders with Kennedy’s at the local ice creamery. Most definitely, he is some little rich kid misplaced in the country-club shuffle of the comfortably rich or upwardly mobile.
As a mom, I couldn’t help wondering if his parents know where his whereabouts. I tried to ask, but some chatty girl came along and invited him to go to Chair 9, the local bar and pizza establishment. He wandered away. The last thing he needs is more alcohol.
Pressed like glacier into my memory, his image stands its ground before my eyes even now. I find myself whispering a prayer for him. Next time I am in town, I’ll inquire about him. I wonder if I will encounter him again? Will I have another chance to pull purpose from his heart? I breathe another prayer as the hollow eyes again appeal for hope.
I wonder if through this post and six levels of separation someone will identify her son and utter a sigh of relief laced with hope? I wonder…
Marlee Huber ~ For Your Flourishing Life!