Tucked between Father’s Day and our dad’s birthday, twin Stephanie and I launched inaugural Street Wisdom events in Vancouver (Canada) and Hudson (New York, USA) in a quiet tribute to our father, who loved walking and who believed in the wisdom & beauty of the world at large. One of the many endearing memories we have of him was his well-known habit of suddenly declaring, seemingly a propos of nothing, “This is great, isn’t it!” He could do this pretty much anywhere, having a knack for, in SW parlance, ‘seeing the beauty in everything’. He passed away on Easter this year, peacefully at 82 years old.
While the memory of our dad provided the quiet but bright spark to motivate us, the folks who showed up and engaged the streets with their questions fueled the success of both events. Here in Hudson, a small but intrepid clutch gathered in this vibrant town two hours north of NYC, while the next day in the city of Vancouver Steph’s group swelled to over a dozen people to take to the streets.
Numbers and sibling rivalry aside, comparing notes afterward we were struck by the similarities between the responses, chief among them being the joy people returned with after their walk. It didn’t seem to matter whether their question had been answered clearly or at all even; in some cases (such as my own as well as with someone in Steph’s group) the question wasn’t so much answered as negated – in the end, the ‘answer’ was not to bother with the question right then – and the effect was a kind of gleeful liberation and clarity.
Which seemed to be one of the more pervasive affects of everyone’s Street Wisdom experience, questions answered or not. In a restorative hour of walking and looking, we were all free for a moment from the tyranny of our own thoughts about ‘the world’ and instead became part and parcel of it. As our dad would have surely exclaimed: this is great, isn’t it!
We’re already planning for another round sometime in the fall, would love for you to join either of us if you’re in the area when the time comes. Meanwhile – answers really are out there, it seems. You just have to ask.
David & Stephanie
Phillip Eustace aka Big Phil