It was the early 1990s and I was in my my pick up truck on Hwy. 62 driving south. She was a young woman, in her early 20s, long brunette hair with that mysterious hint of auburn. She climbed into the passenger seat of my truck, she seemed the perfect physical specimen, slight of form, lithe but seemingly strong. There was a lightness about her, as if she did not have the same pull of gravity on her. We talked of light-hearted things on our half-hour drive back to the high desert, our children (she had one small boy), our spouses, our jobs. I mostly recollect the feelings more than the details. But I do remember that we did not talk about IT.
Every year, the Soroptimist group in our town put together a program for teenage girls. Its primary function was to raise self esteem as well as to educate. My wife, Susan, a Soroptimist then, asked me if I would help her by picking up one of the speakers in Palm Springs, someone with AIDS. And that year, one speaker, this young woman, the one who sat beside me for a few brief moments of my long life, was to educate these girls about the effects of AIDS, not the statistical facts, but the personal ones, the deeply personal facts. The facts that change things forever, the facts that etch not just the face and body, but the mind and heart and soul. Back then, AIDS was, for the most part, a long agonizing death sentence and this young woman was there to lay out her story, plain as day, for these teens to see.
I wasn't invited to the speech, but Susan said when the young woman had finished there wasn't a dry eye to be found. She laid her life bare for the teenage girls. And they gathered it up and held it to their hearts. The desire, the action, the consequences, the price she would pay, she laid it all out. Her cautionary tale was her gift to them.
To see the inevitable conclusion to this earthly existence, to know one will leave behind all that is loved, and still spend precious moments teaching others seemed such a courageous thing to me. Selflessness is a measure of beauty that lies well beyond the physical form, this is the immeasurable beauty of the Godspark that is our soul. Art seems pale by comparison. I don't have an image worthy to post with this blog. The image that belongs here is hers, the beautiful young woman. But if not hers than maybe a mirror, because, in our very best moments here on the swirling blue marble, we can and sometimes do reflect this immeasurable beauty.
Tim Bulone is an ardent observer of life on the swirling blue marble. He creates fine art and canvas prints which he likes to sell from time to time at http://www.MyFamilyArt.com and writes his own art blog at http://timothy-bulone.artistwebsites.com/myblog.html He is an early morning pedestrian in Belmont Shore, where he resides with his wife and a variety of seemingly incorrigible pets.