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  • "This," I think with a sigh. "This is everything."

    I don't often get caught up in existential ruminations. Life is what it is and this one is mine. I don't see much sense in worrying about it. Sometimes, though, the meaning of life feels within grasp and it just seems so simple.

    A slow bus rendered slower by an old woman and her pile of bags. A young man offering to help. A driver waiting until she sits, the bag lady. A one-armed woman, homeless herself, helping her off the bus.

    "That was very nice of you," I note.

    "She was just so old," the woman shrugs. "With all those bags?"

    I pull the cord for her at her own stop and wish her well. Wish a good day to the volunteer escorts outside Planned Parenthood. Volunteer with Books to Prisoners and find letters from prisoners addressed to me, me, Kristin. Catch up with friends.

    I plan to go home but change my mind with an email.

    "Hey," I say when the call connects. "How do you feel?"

    "Pretty low."

    "What are you doing today? Do you want to go to a movie?"

    "A movie would be great. What do you want to see?"

    "Anything."

    Nothing really but a smile.

    And so, I wander miles to the theater instead of home. I buy snacks at a drugstore and sit in the sun on the steps of a museum. Laughter and conversation float above the hum of engines and the staccato drum on plastic buckets down the way. Food trucks sit at the curb. Papa Adam. SeƱor Taco. Kabob King. People line up. Sit down. Eat, talk, laugh and walk away.

    And nothing seems to matter more than being right here and right now. Sitting on the steps. In the sun. With a staccato beat and the throb of engines. With the hum of conversation peppered by laughter. This is everything.

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