Upon the steps of the southeastern branch of the DC Public Library, I had said goodbye to some of my friends. Gerard, a PhD graduate from Harvard said "I wish I could come with you." as he sat on the stoop waiting for the library to open. It had been two months and nearly at the beginning of this journey, an anonymous man approached me, while I sat in the garden of the library writing approached me. "I have lived in this neighborhood for nearly 40 years and have never come to this garden. It's beautiful." He paused. "What are you writing about?" I looked over the elder. "I am writing about my travels abroad, and I am also writing about the homeless." I could not have stopped the gush of words that proceeded out of his mouth at the time. "The homeless? Don't write about the homeless. That's been done. Where were you abroad?" I resented this man, with his dictates, yet, I chose to respond. "I taught in South Korea and in China. I found China to be a magical place. The people are incredible, for I haven't seen innocence in a very long time..." He stopped me there..."You know, I am a left-hander, like President Obama. We golf together. I like left-handed people. You should write about China. Forget about the homeless. This country is about God, Sex, and Drugs. You have a mind of a 22-year-old...so idealistic. However this country will kill each other. It's just the way it is. Don't write about the poor. Write about China, that is what we need to hear about. Don't be among the homeless, don't become them. When this nation tears each other apart, we'll be on the golf course when it happens, and after its all over, we'll rebuild it. You can't change the country, let alone with stories about these people." I didn't get a rebuttal. He walked off, not really listening, but dismissive and superior sounding. I was left with those words to contemplate. Was he right?
I had finally come to the last monument I needed to meditate at; the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Thomas Jefferson spoke of knowledge and wisdom a lot during his public service. His focus was on the freedom of the human mind and education as being one of the cornerstones of absolute freedom. We have heard that many of the elite say, "What do I want with a thinking public?" However, it is with our imaginations, creativity we have created in this nation cures for diseases, transport, and our arts. We have lost more skills than we have retained by being a culture of war.
That is why family matters and why so many try to destroy it. "There's no place like home."