All things observed.

1 Jul

Tyler is fourteen years old and has worn a poncho every single day in often brutal heat for the past three years to honor his hero Pancho Villa. His friends all call him Pancho and I can see a flash in his eye each time they do that says, “You have no idea.”

He has the sweet demeanor and somewhat flat affect that are the contradictory hallmarks of some Native Americans. It is charming and disarming. He is quiet.

And I am half deaf, so it has been a challenge to walk with him for three days, he, being the one student and there is always one as I’ve written often, who has glued himself to my side. His questions are relentless. And they are the kinds of questions I can’t fob off with a statistic I’ve memorized. His require some analysis: Is it possible to gather the edible things in Central Park and feed hungry people?

Hmmm. Let me get back to you Tyler, you know, with a coalition.

Tyler is brimming with bubbles of thoughts. And observations of things that have never caught my eye. Like, and beneath my feet several times a week, why are there swastikas in the floor of Rockefeller Center? Sure enough, in the brass and terrazzo, hundreds of them.

“Well, Tyler, these predate the Nazi use by a few years, and these are all pointing left, like Hindu swastikas that are found throughout Asia and the subcontinent and in some Native American artwork as well.” I was swimming as fast as I could.

“Like the Statue of Liberty!” he said.

My mind raced over the Statue in my head, searching for swastikas. Here we were right under NBC with a scoop, I thought.

He continued, “You said it is called ‘Liberty Enlightening the World’ and enlightenment is a Buddhist ideal.

The largest statue in the world is presently a Buddha in the Zhaocun township of Lushan County, Henan, China. But thanks to you, Tyler, I’ll always remember we had one first.

rc swas

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