In front of Pastelaria Pau de Canela, a boy, in a tie-dye shirt, runs past the pigeons causing them to flutter, surge and fall. They move as one. The boy’s not running to anything or from anything; he’s not racing anyone; he’s not exercising. He’s not fleeing his shadow. He’s running, because he’s healthy, joyous, and loves the feeling of his heart jumping in his chest.

On this day in late April, orange blossoms pierce the air; neighbors greet each other with sun in their voices; friends kiss each other on both cheeks; a father kicks a ball with his two sons; young mothers push strollers; couples walk arm in arm; a man buys a flower from a peddler. Bells intrude and recede: it’s one; it’s two; it’s three– the clock will continue to chime, when we’re gone.

A mother and daughter, in matching striped shirts, walk arm in arm; a girl feeds her boyfriend a spoonful of ice-cream; an old man with a cane pauses near the carousel; two middle-aged women savor strawberry cones; a man wipes dirt from his son’s feet; a toddler drops her lemon-lime icicle. Ash and sand and jasmine rain on us.

There’s always a guitarist in the square– this square or any other. He strums, and many stop to listen. His guitar paints thoughts lilac. “Prayers aren’t important,” a man says. Is that so? Then, wish others love, wellness and comfort without calling it a “prayer,” if the word offends. Help financially, if you can, but if you can’t: love is currency; a smile is currency; positivity is currency; action is currency; time is currency; blessings, spoken or silent, are currency. Self-love is capital; loving others, an investment.

There’s music, then there’s silence; there’s chatter, then there’s silence; there’s laughter; then there’s silence; there’s life; then, there’s silence. The world, tragedy-filled, but not tragic, goes on…

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